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Adrià Carbonell: Together-Apart. Redistribution as a Spatial Practice

Ph.D. candidate Adrià Carbonell's 50% thesis seminar. The invited discussant is Professor of urbanism Bruno De Meulder, KU Leuven. Supervisors are Professor Ann Legeby (main) and Dr. Daniel Koch.

Tid: On 2022-11-23 kl 13.30 - 15.30

Plats: https://www.kth.se/places/room/id/85554de4-f39e-4756-a2b6-1fc2a8a6bf02

Videolänk: https://kth-se.zoom.us/j/67042903633

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This thesis explores the combined potential of architecture and urbanism to produce transformative forms of socio-economic and socio-ecological redistribution. Situated in a context of planetary urbanization, growing global inequalities, and climate emergency, it proposes a disciplinary shift that operates within a paradigm of redistribution rather than growth. A transition that moves from the current paradigm of urban development to the readjustment of existing distribution patterns based on the reallocation of available resources, services, networks, and infrastructures.

The approach to spatial redistribution is threefold: theoretical, historical, and projective. Theoretically, it reframes the economic and political notion of redistribution into a spatial and environmental question. Historically, it analyses the forms of redistribution that have guided modernist patterns of urbanization, with a special focus on the Swedish welfare state period, 1930s-1970s. As a projective concept, it understands urban planning and design as redistributive practices invested in the provision of social and ecological welfare. As such, the notion of redistribution is used as a spatial analysis tool and as a principle of projective design. This approach will be tested in two case studies, one in the metropolitan area of Stockholm and one in the small town of Östersund. A cartographic project in the form of a territorial inventory will follow, aiming to construct a base map on which future redistributive actions can apply.

Specifically, the thesis addresses two objects of redistribution that are considered critical under contemporary urban conditions: new urban centralities and territorial ecologies. Hence, the approach to spatial redistribution adopts a trans-scalar logic. The thesis transits from architecture and urban design to regional planning and landscape ecology. Importantly, redistribution is not considered to have a mere reactive rationale. On the contrary, it embodies future possibilities. As a preliminary conclusion, it is suggested that territorial design can move from fixing unequal patterns to shaping new systems that anticipate inequalities. Alongside a redistribution of resources, territorial design can propel a pre-distribution of life-forms. Redistribution and pre-distribution are necessarily understood as complementary and mutually beneficial. To think about redistribution alone can leave alternative futures unexplored, whereas a mere pre-distribution may fall into the realm of idealism. Both strategies are to be thought and practiced together and coordinated with different institutional and social arrangements.

For the full manuscript, please contact Adrià at: adria.carbonell-rabassa@arch.kth.se