For a Socialist Architecture 4. Part 2. Political Practices

In Part 1 of this presentation we looked at the political principles of a socialist architecture. In Part 2 I’m going to discuss the political practices through which ASH has implemented these principles in engaging with the political dimension of architecture.

1. The Political Economy of Housing Provision

In this first diagram we have two opposing political economies, the capitalist and the socialist. Within a capitalist economy, the greater the social value of an architectural project — that is, the social housing and communal amenities — the lower the profit extracted from it; just as the greater the profit extracted from the budget, the lower the funds remaining for amenities of social value. While within a socialist economy, by contrast, the greater the financial investment in the project the greater its social value. It’s a simple diagram, but one that shows the contradictory mechanisms of these opposed economies. At present architects are working within a capitalist economy in which the more the state invests in a project through public subsidies at the point of both production and consumption, the higher the profits of the developer and investors. Help to Buy, to take just one example, has helped drive the huge increases in housing costs and the vast profits being made by developers; while state subsidies for so-called affordable housing has resulted in public funding being used to build properties for private ownership rather than housing need. The more public funding that is thrown at developers and buyers, the higher the cost of the housing they build and purchase, the greater the profits of the building industry and the larger the share of UK wealth that is locked into the housing market. Only a socialist economy can escape this cycle, by investing public funding where it should go, in social value. In housing terms that means the homes in which UK citizens can afford to live, not the properties in which investors wish to invest their capital.

I want to start, therefore, by asking what we mean when we say — as ASH repeatedly has — that architecture is always political? And how can we engage with the politics of architecture in our practice? All architecture creates, reproduces or reinforces particular social, economic and environmental relationships. Every design decision has consequences for existing relationships and creates new ones, and therefore is political. Architects who claim otherwise either don’t understand the meaning of ‘political’, are fooling themselves, or are lying.

Capitalist architecture, as we looked at in Part 1 of this presentation, reinforces existing relations of inequality: through designs that segregate access and use; through designs that prioritise the exchange-value of a property over its use-value; and through designs that produce and reinforce inequality rather than mitigating or eliminating it. As an example of this that is so ubiquitous these days that it isn’t even questioned, just about every new development in London, whether residential, office or mixed-use, turns the top floor of the building into a place of privilege. Whether that’s a multi-million pound residential penthouse (below), a boardroom, a members bar, an upmarket restaurant or a viewing platform, this designs economic inequality into the architecture, mapping social difference onto spatial distance, and provoking feelings of aspiration, perhaps (the desire for career promotion, social mobility or to climb the property ladder), certainly of resentment.

Hoxton Press, part of the redevelopment of the Colville estate

This is architecture in an expanded sense, which embraces capitalist practices and methods of accumulation, and makes full use of advertising, marketing and other cultural forms that reinforce contemporary social and economic segregation. The ubiquitous stereotypes that politicians, think tanks, councils, housing associations, developers, estate agents, consultants and architects use to denigrate and stigmatise the communities and homes of the estates they want to demolish and redevelop is typical of this practice. This is architecture as status symbol, as the manufacturing of desire through restricting access and limiting availability or opportunity through the estate agents’ patter of ‘exclusivity’.

In opposition to this practice, a socialist architecture does not mean eradicating difference or variety. Equality of amenity does not mean homogeneity of design — another trope of capitalist propaganda. On the contrary, a socialist architecture means ensuring that every user of the architectural product has equal access to enjoy its housing, amenities, environment, landscape and facilities irrespective of their economic status. The environment, in this respect, is absolutely political, in that the access — or lack of it — to clean air, clean water, sanitation, ventilation, heating, daylight, sunlight, shade and security is profoundly unequal under capitalism, available according to the measure of the price someone pays for it. In contrast, the design of Central Hill estate (below), which we looked at in Part 1, assigned the number of bedrooms in the individual homes according to the size of the household; made the size of living rooms, kitchens and bathrooms according to the needs of the household not the financial purchasing power of the occupants; granted equal access to all communal amenities, as well as individual balconies, shared views over London to the north and sunlight from the south — all of which will be lost in the new proposals for the redevelopment by Lambeth council.

Central Hill estate

Housing, or the lack of it, is not the cause of the crisis in housing affordability. Poverty and increasing economic inequality are the problem. Housing, therefore, cannot ‘solve’ the problem of inequality; but it can improve an individual’s level of poverty. One step towards eliminating poverty would be to eliminate housing poverty, as under Neo-liberalism this has become the largest single financial obligation for most people in the UK. However, as demonstrated by the Neo-liberal privatisation of our other basic needs — including water, sanitation, health, energy and transport — if we eliminated housing poverty but didn’t address the bigger problem of capitalism, poverty and inequality would simply resurface elsewhere. Ultimately, we need to overthrow and dismantle the current Neo-liberal system producing ever greater inequality, and which more and more people are beginning to realise is destroying the environment. But in order to do that we need collectively to change the ways in which we act and the ways in which we live. The practice of a socialist architecture is one way to do that.

2. The Moments of Political Agency

What I’ve done here is to go back to the development process I mapped out in the first of these presentations on the social dimension of architecture, and match its various phases to possible moments of political agency. In doing so I want to lay out the moments in which the different agents of a socialist architecture can intervene in and engage with the development process, and put pressure on its current unfolding according to the demands of a capitalist economy. These headings are broad, but I’ve broken down political agency in the development process into four moments, as follows:

A. Legislation, policy and strategic development
B. Urban design, master-planning and brief development
C. Project design and the planning process
D. Education, dissemination and agitation for change

As can be seen, these moments are not only accessible to architects. We are all, collectively and potentially, political agents of a socialist architecture. Political agency, which includes the creation of political opinion and will, takes place in the street, at a protest, on the internet, in a newspaper, on television, on the radio, in a book, at the cinema, in a gallery, at a performance, in the classroom. It is essential that the agents of a socialist architecture that are in a position to create political narratives — which includes activists, writers, artists, musicians and teachers as well as architects, councillors, planners and politicians — do so to challenge the currently dominant and overwhelmingly negative and wildly inaccurate stereotypes by which we are confronted in every aspect of our media and communications every day.

There are a number of mechanisms through which the agents of a socialist architecture can engage within the current capitalist system. First, we must intervene in the existing processes and demand better and more socially, environmentally economically sustainable practices and designs. And second, we must ourselves help propose alternatives. These two methods have more agency when combined, and generally one cannot propose an alternative without providing a critique of the existing proposal and demonstrating why an alternative is necessary.

In order to be able to produce a critique of existing policies and proposals, it is essential we have the correct information available to make reasoned arguments; so a large part of the following advice is devised to help identify or locate this information, as this is typically not easily or readily available. In many cases, we must demand that the information be made public, disseminate that information to the wider public, demand that particular assessments are made by independent bodies, or are at the very least are made available for scrutiny by the public. None of this activity is limited to an architect.

The development of the urban landscape and built environment is continuous and happening all the time and all around us. However, the development process can be broken down into a series of stages, and it is within the phases of development that the agent of a socialist architecture is able to engage with the existing city. I want to go through these stages, therefore, and explore some of the ways in which our work with ASH has engaged with, interjected in and disrupted their smooth working within the capitalist development process, and then to propose alternative practices in line with the principles of a socialist architecture. This will allow me to formulate some of the political practices of a socialist architecture. Let’s begin with the first moment of political agency:

A. Legislation, policy and strategic development

A socialist architecture must:

  • Participate in all stages and spheres of planning and urban development policy processes, at local, regional and national levels;
  • Lobby for, propose and produce architectural, planning, housing and urban design policies that support the principles of a socialist architecture;
  • Scrutinise all ‘re-zoning’ and ‘opportunity area’ planning designations, and oppose those that will have a negative social, economic or environmental impact on existing and/or future communities;
  • Oppose the privatisation of any public land and amenities;
  • Propose securing threatened buildings or land as an asset of community value;
  • Advocate for removing housing and land from the market;
  • Agitate, promote and lobby for policies that give more power and rights to residents over landlords.

It’s important to say that, while we’ve been drawing up these principles and practices, we’ve been thinking about how the larger principles we’re advocating — such as the socialisation of land, which is impossible under capitalism — work with the more specific practices of a socialist architecture under capitalism, such as those outlined here. And it’s raised questions about whether, in outlining these practices, we’re conceding too much to capitalism; whether we should be opposing its structures more absolutely; and how much we should be demanding.

Recently, for example, ASH developed an option for infill development in the gardens of the Montreal Square housing association estate in Cambridge, whose campaign we’ve been advising over the past year, and this was rejected outright by the residents. Having spent, in many cases, the past quarter of a century lovingly tending their gardens, they saw no reason why they should give them up to new development, even if doing so might save their homes from demolition, just because their landlord wants to redevelop the estate as market sale and shared ownership properties. Rather than make concessions that would drastically reduce their quality of life, they have decided not to yield an inch to the Cambridge Housing Society and instead challenge their justifications for demolishing their homes for profit. In our view, this is absolutely the right course of action for the Montreal Square community.

In other circumstances, where infill development is less intrusive and would generate the funds to refurbish homes neglected of maintenance, an attempt at compromise would be the best course of action. The principles of a socialist architecture are there to guide our practices, not to constrain or limit them with rigid dogma that doesn’t take account of concrete situations. The practices, however, are there to determine what a socialist architecture must do when it is possible to do so — and here we return to the dividing line that we looked at in Part 1 between what is perceived to be possible and impossible — but also what it must not do under any circumstances. A socialist architecture, to take one obvious example, must not design poor doors in segregated affordable housing blocks; it must try to build as many homes as possible that meet housing need; but it must — to take one of the above examples — oppose the privatisation of public land. At present, the architectural profession and other possible agents of a socialist architecture are far too content, far too comfortable, and far too unwilling to challenge the line that has been drawn by the state between what is possible and what is impossible. Drawing up these political principles will hopefully show what is possible even under the impossible circumstances in which Neo-liberal capitalism has placed us.

So, moving on, the next phase in the development process and moment of political agency is:

B. Urban design, master-planning and brief development

A socialist architecture must:

  • Agitate against and oppose developments that produce social, economic and environmental inequality;
  • Promote policies and designs that facilitate the equal distribution of housing and access to resources;
  • Support residents in campaigns to save their communities from eviction and social cleansing;
  • Work with communities to develop design alternatives to the demolition of their homes;
  • Encourage and promote housing management structures that facilitate community ownership, stewardship or management, and ensure the end-user, resident and community has a leading role in the procurement, design, construction and management of developments that affect them;
  • Ensure the diverse needs of existing residents are met by the brief.

The next phase of development is where the architect has most agency; but there are still many roles that the non-architect can play, particularly during the planning process, which still has the potential for a certain amount of democratic engagement.

C. Project design and the planning process

A socialist architecture must:

  • Promote architectural and urban design practices that enact the principles of a socialist architecture;
  • Produce architectural designs that enable relationships of social, economic and environmental equality;
  • Produce alternative development and refurbishment proposals that are socially beneficial, financially viable and environmentally sustainable;
  • Oppose planning applications for developments that will have a negative impact on the neighbourhood;
  • Accommodate all agents of a socialist architecture in its production, expanding the concern of architecture beyond the finished ‘object’ to the producers and transporters of its materials, the manufacturers of its components, the inhabitants and users of its products, and all those who will be affected by its production;
  • Design for equality of access to all facilities and amenities, promoting the public and communal over the private.

Before moving on to the fourth moment of political agency, I want to clarify that, although these moments follow the development process as laid out in the first of our presentations on the social dimension of architecture, these moments are not sequential but structural. Although they equate to phases in the development process, the intervention in them can be made at any moment in that process; and the final moment is also the first one and can and should be continued throughout its phases:

D. Education, dissemination and agitation for change 

A socialist architecture must:

  • Educate architects, residents, politicians, built-environment professionals and consultants, clients, and all the potential agents of a socialist architecture, in the failures of capitalist architecture and the principles of a socialist architecture;
  • Challenge the false premises of capitalist architecture — for example, the so-called ‘law’ of supply and demand — wherever they are encountered;
  • Produce alternative narratives to the entrenched negative stereotypes about social housing and the communities that live in it;
  • Lobby institutions — such as the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architects Registration Board — for changes to the codes of conduct guiding the architectural profession, something we looked at in our second presentation on the environmental dimension of architecture.

Undoubtedly there are and will be further moments of political agency, and not only in the development process; but these are the ones we have come up with, and I want to end by giving concrete examples of these practices in the work of ASH.

3. Political Practices for a Socialist Architecture

A. Legislation, policy and strategic development

Housing and Planning Bill protest, January 2016

  • Organise demonstrations against proposed housing legislation.

In January 2016, ASH organised the first of several demonstrations outside the Houses of Parliament (above) opposing the Government’s Housing and Planning Act. We accompanied these protests with articles, some of which were published in the national press, critical of the proposed new legislation, including ASH’s submission to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee.

  • Analyse and criticise proposed housing policy.

In March 2017, in response to the Greater London Authority’s draft document, Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration, ASH published our critical report, The Good Practice Guide to Resisting Estate Demolition. This was not only a paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of the numerous flaws in the guide, but advised residents on how to challenge and oppose its policies when they were used to justify demolishing their homes.

  • Organise hustings to apply pressure on politicians.

In May 2017, in response to the refusal of officially-organised hustings to take questions about housing, ASH organised our own political husting in which we asked candidates standing in the General Election to be a Member of Parliament for the London Borough of Lambeth about their policies on estate regeneration.

  • Hold public meetings to propose changes to housing policy.

In April 2018, prior to the London local elections, ASH launched our report on Central Hill: A Case Study in Estate Regeneration at a meeting held on Cotton Gardens estate. The ability of the local authority to ignore overwhelming resident support for these proposals provided a context in which to propose ASH’s policy changes to estate regeneration.

  • Contribute to housing think-tanks, council committees and academic panels.

Since June 2017 ASH has been a regular panel member of the London School of Economics’ Housing Plus Academy; in November 2017 we presented to the Haringey Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel about the council’s estate regeneration programme; and in 2019 we are on the panel of the Bartlett School of Architecture’s CLOUD housing research project.

  • Nominate threatened buildings or land as an asset of community value.

In 2012 a community benefit society applied to Southwark council to have the Ivy House public house in Nunhead listed as an asset of community value. Following the success of this campaign, the Ivy House Community Pub Ltd purchased the freehold using finance raised by the community shares. This was the first time an asset of community value had been purchased using the right to bid provision contained in the Localism Act 2011.

B. Urban design, master-planning and brief development

ASH design proposal for Knight's Walk

  • Support residents in campaigns to save their communities from being socially cleansed from their homes.

In 2015 ASH produced an option for the refurbishment and increased housing capacity through roof-extensions and infill development on Knight’s Walk (above), the low-rise component of the Cotton Garden estate in Kennington, which was then under threat of full demolition. In tandem with the resident campaign, this compelled Lambeth council to look at other options, which ultimately resulted in half the homes being saved from demolition.

  • Work with communities to propose design, management, ownership and financing alternatives to the proposed demolition and redevelopment of their homes.

Between 2015 and 2016 ASH developed design alternatives to the proposed demolition of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in West Kensington again. These designs proposed increasing the housing capacity on the estate without demolition, refurbishing the existing homes, and increasing the total number of additional homes for social rent. ASH worked our designs up to feasibility study stage and had them costed by a quantity surveyor, and together these provided the basis to the residents’ application to the Secretary of State for the Right to Transfer the estate into their own management as a community-run housing association and ownership as a Community Land Trust. Again, this could be seen as a form of privatisation, which a socialist architecture is opposed to in principle; but in practice residents are facing a choice between the destruction of their community and taking their homes out of public ownership into collective ownership.

  • Challenge client’s briefs and propose frameworks and criteria other than the largest financial return on developer investment.

Between 2016 and 2017 ASH produced design alternatives to the partial demolition of the Northwold estate in Hackney. This showed it was possible to increase the housing capacity on the estate through roof extensions and infill development by the same number of new homes (245) as the landlord proposed building following the demolition and redevelopment of half the estate. In tandem with the resident campaign, this compelled the Guinness Partnership in February 2018 to announce that it had had scrapped its plans to demolish the Northwold estate, and were now looking at building 100 new homes using available land without demolishing the existing buildings.

  • Expose and oppose developments that formalise social and economic inequality.

In 2018 residents of Treves House and Lister House in Whitechapel contacted ASH for advice. Their local authority, Tower Hamlets council, had informed them they couldn’t afford to refurbish their homes, and that demolition and redevelopment was therefore the only option. This would have resulted in the loss of homes for social rent, the eviction of most of the existing community, with the rest rehoused in housing association homes in segregated affordable-housing blocks. We looked at the deliberately over-inflated costs for refurbishment, which the council’s quantity surveyor had estimated at £7.4 million, and recommended residents demand the council allow them to nominate an alternative quantity surveyor recommended by ASH to produce a new costing. They were successful, and the new figure for the refurbishment of their homes, which came to only £1.8 million, less than a quarter as much, compelled the council to call off the demolition.

C. Project design and the planning process

  • Propose design alternatives to demolition that retain existing communities and increase social rental housing provision.

Between 2015 and 2017 ASH developed design alternatives to the demolition of the Central Hill estate in Crystal Palace, again up to feasibility study stage, and again costed by a quantity surveyor. While Lambeth council was proposing a mix of market-sale and so-called affordable housing with a mass loss of homes for social rent, ASH’s designs showed that, in the absence of demolition and compensation costs, it was possible to increase the housing capacity of the estate by over 50 per cent without demolishing a single existing home, all of which would be refurbished up to the Decent Homes Standard, with at least half of the new-build dwellings available for social rent.

  • Prioritise communal over private amenities, and retain and reclaim public space.

Since 2017 ASH has been working with the Patmore Co-operative to develop a vision for the future of the Patmore estate in Wandsworth. ASH’s proposals bring disused spaces back into communal use (above), reinstates resident access to the estate’s privatised community hall, and proposes infill housing options that demonstrate it is possible to increase its housing capacity without having to demolish, redevelop and privatise the estate in line with orthodox practice.

  • Design for equal access to amenities and allocate space according to housing need.

Since 2017 ASH has been working with the Drive housing co-operative in Walthamstow to double its housing capacity based on communal living available to low-income and benefit dependent residents, with improved access and facilities for the residents living with disabilities.

  • Design housing for equality of tenure or, where necessary for cross subsidisation, ‘tenure blind’ housing in order to produce integrated neighbourhoods.

In 2018, as part of the Greater London Authority’s Small Sites x Small Builders programme, ASH proposed designs for Brixton Gardens, a co-operative housing development in which all the homes would be for social rent, allocated according household size rather than income, and collectively owned by a community land trust.

  • Oppose planning applications that have a negative impact on the existing community and surrounding neighbourhood.

In 2019 members of the Sanford housing co-operative, which includes a member of ASH, successfully opposed a planning application on a neighbouring site by creating an interactive website that identified areas in which the application failed to meet local policy planning requirements, enabling an informed and extensive response from the local community.

D. Education, dissemination and agitation for change

Open Garden Estates, Central Hill, 2016

  • Organise and participate in protests, occupations and demonstrations.

ASH has organised protests against the AJ120 Awards (2015), the RIBA Stirling Prize Awards (2015, 2016 and 2019), the Housing and Planning Bill (2016), Savills real estate firm (2016), the Guinness Partnership housing association (2017); and has spoken at, written about and participated in numerous political, union and housing-related protests and occupations across London.

  • Organise community events.

Between 2015-17 ASH ran Open Gardens Estates, a London-wide annual event hosted by 17 estates threatened with demolition. This was an opportunity for individual campaigns to make contact with each other, gather support for their campaigns, open their homes up to the general public through organised tours of the estates, and in doing so dispel some of the negative myths about council estates as, for example, ‘concrete jungles’, and their communities as havens for crime and drug-dealing. On some estates residents used the day to replant some of plants that had been dug up or torn down by the council as part of the managed decline of the estate preparatory to its demolition. On those for which ASH had designed alternatives to demolition, residents exhibited boards explaining the social, financial and environmental benefits of refurbishment and infill development (above).

  • Produce alternative narratives of social housing through walks, presentations and exhibitions.

ASH exhibited our design work at the Peer Gallery (2015), the Cubitt Gallery (2016), London City Hall (2017), the Institute of Contemporary Arts (2017) and the Serpentine Gallery (2019). In 2016, as part of a weekend of actions against the Housing and Planning Bill, ASH conducted a guided tour, Modern Times, of the Southwark and Lambeth streets of Charlie Chaplin’s childhood. In 2019, as part of Hito Steyerl’s exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, we conducted a guided tour, Inequality Capital, of the UK property investments of the billionaires on Kensington Palace Gardens and their influence on London’s housing market.

  • Publish reports and case studies on the social, financial and environmental costs of capitalist housing development.

Since 2015 ASH has published over 200 articles, reports, presentations and case studies on our website, that have been visited over 230,000 times by 127,000 people from 179 countries. These include reports on The Ethics of Estate Regeneration (2016), The Truth about Grenfell Tower (2017) and The Costs of Estate Regeneration (2018), as well as over a dozen case studies of individual estate regeneration schemes.

  • Inform resident and neighbouring communities, through community talks and workshops, about the process of capitalist development and the socialist alternative.

Over the past four years, as part of our advocacy and outreach work, ASH has given hundreds of talks and interviews to residents, campaign groups and students about housing policy, resisting estate demolition and ASH’s alternative model of estate refurbishment.

  • Hold community talks, workshops and consultations.

ASH has held public meetings on subjects such as the technical, bureaucratic and political causes of the Grenfell Tower fire (July 2017), and proposed policy changes on estate regeneration (June 2018), as well as numerous workshops with residents on estates threatened with demolition.

  • Give presentations and panel discussions at national and international academic and cultural institutions.

Since 2015 ASH has delivered more than 50 presentations to academic, art, design and architectural institutions in the UK, Berlin, New York and Vancouver.

  • Give television, radio and press interviews, and record and publicise work in documentary films and exhibitions.

ASH’s work is the subject of a feature-length film, Concrete Soldiers (December 2017), and we appeared in the documentary Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle (March 2017). Our work has been referenced in over 60 articles and 7 books, and we have also appeared numerous times as expert commentators on various news outlets, including RT UK News, Channel 4 News, Channel 5, ABC News and LBC Radio.

  • Map and document the effects of the estate regeneration programme.

In August 2017 ASH produced a map of London’s estate regeneration programme that identified 237 estates which, since 1997 when the current programme began, have undergone, are undergoing or are threatened with demolition, regeneration and/or privatisation resulting in the mass loss of homes for social rent. Over the past two years we have repeatedly tried to access the public funding to complete the collection of this data, which is currently not available to the public, but so far without success.

  • Participate in residencies.

In July and August 2019, as part of a research fellowship, ASH took up a residency at the 221A gallery in Vancouver. Here we gave presentations on the social, environmental, economic and political dimensions of architecture that will provide the research basis to our new project, a book to be titled For a Socialist Architecture.

4. For a Socialist Architecture

Architecture is always political, including, as we have shown, capitalist architecture. Now we need to assert what politics of architecture we need to practice in order to create the socially, environmentally and economically sustainable cities of the future; cities that don’t displace our communities, consume our resources, destroy our environment and produce exponentially increasing economic inequality.

By the title of this project, For a Socialist Architecture, we are not suggesting that the production of a socialist architecture under capitalism will solve the housing crisis. Rather, we envisage a socialist architecture as a transitional practice, a tool that will help lever us out of the capitalist end-game and towards a socialist future. The promotion by our current housing policy of the nuclear-family model of home ownership — the consequences for which include a lifetime mortgage with a global bank and one of the partners (usually a woman) chained to a life of unpaid labour — is as ideologically determined by our capitalist economy as Ginzberg’s Narkomfin building was by a nascent socialist one; but it has far less to offer us as a model of housing provision that meets our housing needs, our social structures or the availability of land and material resources in the present or the future.

Contrary to its easy dismissal by the propagandists of capitalism, a socialist architecture is not utopian: it is rigorously practical. At our present moment in the global crisis of capitalism — and of which the international housing crisis is both contributory cause and resulting product — a socialist architecture is a pressing necessity that must be instigated within the historical trajectory of a ‘transitional’ period. It is estimated that we need to build 2 billion new homes globally by the end of the century. Only through the production of a socialist architecture and other equivalent and parallel social and political practices can we bring about the change we need and build the cities in which we can afford and want to live. The bigger political changes that need to take place to implement our more ambitious proposals — such as the socialisation of all land and housing provision — will only come about as a result of these activities.

The socialisation of our lived environment will not come about overnight; and it must first be imagined in the minds of residents, of architects and of policy makers. That said, with the political will to do so, most of the changes in practice we are proposing can be initiated right now. It is through these, and not through the passive dream of a parliamentary road to socialism, that a new society will be both imagined and created. Whether consciously or not, whether we deny it or not, architecture is fundamentally a mechanism for social and political transformation. The choice before us is: what kind of world do we want to build?

Architects for Social Housing

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