Architecture is inherently linked to policy, politics, and power. With responsibility for the design and perception of the built environment, architects have a distinct role in shaping the human urban experience. As the world confronts issues of climate change, forced migration, and affordable housing, architects are increasingly putting themselves on the front line of the debate, using a variety of tools and avenues to clamor for change, and indeed design for it. However, while many official avenues exist for architects to advocate for social and environmental reform, there is an under-theorized method of resistance, a ‘road less traveled’ for social progress beyond officialdom. With crafted skills centered on the human perception of space, architects can engage in a movement seeking to use architecture as a raw material for unsanctioned artistic intervention. For architects increasingly alarmed at a perceived lack of political action to the world’s pressing issues, and eager to use their skills to promote change, artistic urban activism has the power to spark awareness, dialogue, and reform.
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