Oct '11 - Dec '11
I've been pretty interested in property rights ever since I read Hernando de Soto's 'The Mystery of Capital' in the second year of university. For those not familiar with him, Hernando de Soto is a Peruvian economist who calls for large-scale property reform of extralegal communities in the developing world. He argues that the success of Western capitalism is predicated on its coherent, standardized legal property system and can be replicated in the developing world by unlocking the latent value of extralegal property.
Since I've read it, 'The Mystery of Capital' has been one of books I carry with me wherever I travel, (in fact it's within arm's reach as I type this). It captured my interest because property rights speaks to the intersection of public policy, legal institutions, recognition of individual liberty, socio-economic mobility and yes, even architecture.
This blog post serves as an introduction to a series on property rights. I'll be making this up as I go along, but the broader theme will be to argue that property rights can perform as a critical conduit for architects to engage social, economic and political issues, and to articulate where such opportunities lie.
This blog is a way for me to think through an idea of architecture as a vehicle for advocacy. I want to be rigorous about this; to understand our everyday spaces as a product of dominant political orders, and then unpack notions of space and politics as a way to critique them. I adopt this method in order to establish a logical foundation from which to construct a model of critical architecture. This can play out in many ways, I'd like to use the blog as a way of structuring these ideas.