Many of the physical spaces that architects, landscape architects, urbanists, and engineers design are inherently locales of joint access and participation. Such long-existing typologies of sharing include plazas, living rooms, libraries, waiting areas, museums, and cohousing schemes. The built environment serves as the platform within which myriad sociological, cultural, and technological forces share legal parameters and broader audiences. Today, digitally-based platforms, supported by vast physical infrastructures, facilitate new types of exchange. Such platforms bring about liberating possibilities to actualize transnational networks that coalesce around food, shelter, transportation, and talent. Yet, for every emancipatory path an equally restrictive one exists. Digitally-mediated sharing can serve as a mask for diffuse forms of financialization and extraction in spatial domains that traditionally conducted their day-to-day operations outside of the flows of global capital.
At the scale of the body and cognition, we are encouraged to share content, documents, and thoughts. We share a massive wake of data with corporations and governments every time we surf the web, ask Alexa a question, or allow our phones and wearables to trace our steps. At the architectural scale, home and ride sharing companies possess household name status; all the while various jurisdictions contest their legal standing. Coliving companies aspire to create global networks of buildings with flexible contracts, using sophisticated online tools and apps that allow residents to book rooms, plan events, and correspond with building operators, thus increasingly blurring physical and digital realms. For many new parks, public squares, and infrastructure projects, sharing becomes an operative word for navigating late-capitalist spatialities which vacillate between public and private. Such semantic equivocalness finds company in equally complex funding strategies typified by innovative permutations of public-private partnerships (PPPs).
For as many words and phrases that there are to describe the collective spatial sphere—commons, public space, public realm, shared space—there are even more monikers describing today’s economic and labor zeitgeists: sharing economy, collaborative consumption, extractive logics, gig economy, on-demand economy, peer-to-peer exchange, platform capitalism, etc. How do these economic paradigms and architecture interact and inform one another? What really makes up the sharing economy and what related practices and efforts might currently be overlooked? What constitutes disruption and what is simply the digitization of long-standing practices?
For this issue, we seek reflections on the spaces where contemporary practices of sharing happen and ask for careful consideration of their designs. By understanding the materiality, form, and processes of sharing, designers might assert agency in new economies and power relations. Sharing asks us to challenge long-standing dichotomies and see new techno-spatial practices as mechanisms which may—intentionally or not—overthrow the old.
We welcome writings and projects of all varieties that embrace, critique, and frame nations of sharing within the built environment today. Initial abstracts of approximately 250 words and web-sized images due November 20th. Complete pieces are also welcome at that time with an accompanying abstract or summary. Email submissions and questions to email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you.
TitleCall for Submissions: PLAT 7.0
TypeCall for Submissions
Submission DeadlineNovember 20, 2017 10:14 PM