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Political Economy of Design seeks to position and discuss architecture in relation to the world of production, economic interests and community benefits, at a local and global scale. By integrating yet moving beyond the stylistic, technological or sociological aspects of the discipline, the discussion reviews the industrial elements that are likely to affect programmatic objectives, formal directions and technical outcomes of building projects. Such discussion has a strong comparative bent, and is coloured by the notion of innovation - what it means from a social, technical and cultural point of view, and how it enters and affects different building markets. Attention is directed at understanding the distinction between innovation on one side and invention and technological change on the other. In this context, architecture's connection with planning and building disciplines is examined and criticised in the attempt to formulate a strategic framework for its use as an environmental policy instrument.
The subject has a lecture component and a research component. The lecture component provides a general theoretical framework largely borrowed from political economy, industrial theory, innovation theory and labour studies literature, but adapted to the analysis of the design and building sector. The research component seeks to apply the elements of this framework to a specific situation providing opportunities for applied research.
Intended learning outcomes
- Identify and engage with the various types of environmental conditions that have an impact upon the role of the design professions, the configuration of the building industry and the nature of its products in any given region;
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of the relationship between design practice, cultural values, spatial needs and industrial landscapes
- On completion of this subject students should have developed the following: • Ability to peruse project archives; • Ability to undertake ideal-type analysis; • Understanding of the type of industrial data required in socio-technical studies; • Ability to identify and use building industry's databases; • Ability to derive theoretical positions from empirical work; • Ability to prepare and conduct technical interviews with industry representatives; • Ability to combine data from primary and secondary sources for the development of a scholarly argument; • Ability to translate these data into a cohesive piece of original research.
Last updated: 6 December 2019