Glass House Presents

Architectures of Spatial Justice

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Join scholar Dana Cuff for a free Zoom talk about her new book Architectures of Spatial Justice (MIT Press).

As state violence, the pandemic, and environmental collapse have exposed systemic inequities, architects and urbanists have been pushed to confront how their actions contribute to racism and climate crisis—and how they can effect change. Establishing an ethics of spatial justice to lead architecture forward, Cuff shows why the discipline requires critical examination—in relation to not only buildings and the capital required to realize them but privilege, power, aesthetics, and sociality. That is, it requires a reevaluation of architecture’s fundamental tenets.

Organized around projects and topics, Cuff’s book is a compelling blend of theory, history, and applied practice that focuses on two foundational conditions of architecture: its relation to the public and its dependence on capital. The book draws on studies of architectural projects from around the world, with instructive case studies from Chile, Mexico, Japan, and the United States that focus particularly on urban centers, where architecture is most directly engaged with social justice issues.

Emerging from more than two decades of the author’s own project-based research, Cuff’s book examines ethically driven practices that break with professional conventions to correct long-standing inequities in the built environment, uncovering architecture’s limits—and its potential.

Dana Cuff is Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, Urban Planning, and Director of cityLAB at UCLA. Cuff has published and lectured widely about design and inclusion, the architectural profession, and affordable housing. She is the author of several books and has co-authored successful state legislation grounded in cityLAB’s affordable housing research. The significance of Cuff’s work is reflected in recent prestigious awards: Women in Architecture Activist of the Year (2019), Researcher of the Year (2020), Educator of the Year (2020), and Public Impact Research Award (2022).

Glass House Presents is an ongoing series of talks, performances, and other live events that extend the site’s historic role as a gathering place for artists, architects, and other creative minds. This event is supported in part by the New Canaan Community Foundation.