Architecture and space re-imagined?
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Architecture and space re-imagined? book
The analysis and comparisons in this book have sought to build upon our original contention that aspects of Western critical theory and socio-spatial discourse can be valuably and provocatively compared against the practical realisations of pro-poor participatory development practitioners working in the Global South. Re-reading and re-contextualising examples drawn from development
practice has revealed spatial practices that deliver sustainable social enterprise by explicitly challenging the conventional approach and perspectives of Westernised architecture and development. Crucially, we have seen that such examples drawn from social, political, and economic contexts of the Global South reﬂect and resonate with key critical perspectives and theoretical aspirations of Western spatial theory. Throughout these comparisons we have explored aspects of Henri
Lefebvre’s and Doreen Massey’s urban and spatial theory, conducting a close textual reading of texts from their respective discourses. This approach has provided new perspectives and analysis of post-Marxist urban space, and an exploration of the explicit connections between Lefebvre and Massey in terms of the social production and multiplicity of space. This analysis generated a theoretical framework from which to reinterpret and revalue the approaches to participatory development practice found in the writings and projects of John Turner and Nabeel Hamdi. This research process provides a new method with which to re-read and critique Western socio-spatial theory. Subsequently, we arrive now at the questions of what can be learnt from contextualising the positive theoretical implications of alternative spatial practices of the Global South in order to implicitly speculate on their potential appropriation to the Global North. The positive achievements observed in these examples of participatory
development practice can thus begin to be seen to provide an implicit theoretical critique of Western spatial practices and conventional architecture. Such examples provide a rich new vein of alternative socio-spatial practices and examples from which to contest the seeming inevitability of Westernised space. The original four cornerstones of this premise – Turner, Lefebvre, Hamdi,
and Massey – have provided the foundations for an underlying critique of
structuralist approaches and interpretations of space. In exploring these key protagonists, various unforeseen research trajectories have emerged. These thematic connections have provided opportunities to explore and critique a broader socio-cultural and political discourse. The connections uncovered range from agonistic political theory and post-modern anthropology, through to postcolonial and subaltern studies discourses. Yet ultimately each strand of research has sought to retain a line of critical comparison drawn between abstract theoretical discourse and concrete spatial practices, and the positive social values inherent within this re-imagining of architecture and space. In this ﬁnal chapter we will seek to summarise the critical observations,
connections, and analysis oﬀered in the preceding chapters, before attempting to provide synthesis and reﬂection as a means to frame ideas for further research and debate. Primarily we will attempt to use the observations and discussions raised in this book to re-visit the original intention of this research: to re-imagine Western space and architecture by learning from development practice in the Global South.