Nearly a century ago, the Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier observed that “it is the question of building that lies at the root of the social unrest of today; architecture or revolution.” Le Corbusier was probably referring here to the threats posed by revolutionary Marxism, which precipitated the overthrow of the Russian Czar toward the end of the first World War. But he may as well have been talking about the challenges facing so many nations today. In the United States, military expenditures here continue to exceed that of all other major industrialized countries combined. Meanwhile, public spending on social and physical infrastructure has diminished. Political divisions and economic inequalities are at levels not seen since the Great Depression. For this event, we examine the role that building can play in remedying the economic, biological, and social crises facing so many nations today. We talk about its importance to the future of the public sphere, not just from a political point of view but also from an ecological and humanitarian standpoint. We debate the ongoing challenges that monopoly capitalism poses to our life on this planet. We also consider some of the theories of infrastructure current in artistic and policy-related circles. We will assess the merits of the Green New Deal, which pairs labor programs together with the climate crisis. We will also compare notes on activist movements taking root in various parts of the world. Our goal here is to offer students an analysis of the challenges facing the world today; we want them to hear from leading thinkers and commentators. It is also our intention to introduce our students to ways to employ their talents and skills to benefit the planet as a whole.
Welcome: Maria R. Perbellini, Dean School of Architecture and Design, New York Tech
Introduction and Moderation:
Nader Voussoughian, Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Design, New York Tech
Hyun-Tae Jung, Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Design, New York Tech
Yanis Varoufakis, Greek-Australian economist and politician
Peggy Deamer, Emeritus Professor of Architecture, Yale University