The journal New Geographies aims to examine the emergence of the geographic—a new but for the most part latent paradigm in design today—to articulate it and bring it to bear effectively on the agency of design. After more than two decades of seeing architecture and urbanism as the spatial manifestation of the effects of globalization, it is time to consider the expanded agency of the designer.
Designers are increasingly compelled to shape larger scales and contexts, to address questions related to infrastructural problems, urban and ecological systems, and cultural and regional issues. These questions, previously confined to the domains of engineering, ecology, or regional planning, now require articulation through design. Encouraging designers to reexamine their tools and develop strategies to link attributes previously understood to be either separate from each other or external to the design disciplines, those questions have also opened up a range of technical, formal, and social repertoires for architecture and urbanism. Although in the past decade different versions of landscape and infrastructural urbanism have emerged in response to similar challenges, this new condition we call “the geographic” points to more than a shift in scale. Much of the analysis in architecture, landscape, and urbanism—of emergent urban mutations and global changes on the spatial dimension—comes by way of social anthropology, human geography, and economics, and the journal aims to extend these arguments by asking how the design practices can have a more active and transformative impact on the forces that shape contemporary urban realities.
As the synthesizing role that geography aspired to play among the physical, the economic, and the sociopolitical is now being increasingly shared by design, New Geographies is interested in new associations or linkages between the social and the physical, the form and the context, the very large and the very small. Through critical essays and design projects, the journal aims to open up discussions on the expanded agency of the designer, agency both as a form of capacity in relation to new techniques and strategies, and as a faculty of acting, power, and disciplinary repositioning.
Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.
New Geographies, 3: Urbanisms of Color
Colors have a presence over and beyond the objects—buildings, spaces, billboards, artifacts, and people—that make up the city. Yet discussions on the city do not usually focus much on color, perhaps because urban colors are too often understood as being beyond any one authority or taste, or are simply dismissed as cosmetic, naïve, or intangible. Volume 3 of New Geographies brings together artists and designers, anthropologists, geographers, historians, and philosophers with the aim of challenging the status quo and exploring the potency, the interaction, and the neglected design possibilities of color at the scale of the city.
New Geographies, 4: Scales of the Earth
The first Apollo images of the Earth produced a perspective enabling humanity to act on Earth and its nature as if it controlled it from “outside.” The scale of vision, viewpoint, and qualification of space made possible by satellite imagery reframes contemporary debates on design, agency, and territory. Volume 4 of New Geographies features articles and projects that critically address the relationship of space with such modes of representation.
New Geographies, 5: The Mediterranean
At the intersection of three continents, the Mediterranean is one of the most important areas on earth. In New Geographies, 5, contributors from a variety of disciplines recast “the Mediterranean” as a twenty-first-century geographic entity, challenging conventional boundaries and dismantling prevailing political, spatial, and cultural meanings.
New Geographies, 6: Grounding Metabolism
Many discussions of architectural metabolism fail to integrate formal, spatial, and material attributes. New Geographies, 6 traces alternative, synthetic routes to design based on better understanding the relation between metabolic models and concepts and the formal, physical, and material specificities of spatial structures across scales.
New Geographies, 7: Geographies of Information
New Geographies, 7 examines the forms, imprints, places, and territories of information and communication technologies (ICTs) through spatially grounded and nuanced accounts of the hybrid conditions that ICTs generate, the scales at which they operate, and how this production of space is manifested in both advanced and emerging economies.
New Geographies, 8: Island
As a metaphor, the island has been a fecund source of inspiration across many domains. Yet the concept seems to contradict trends toward interconnectedness in the geographic and design fields. An “atlas” of islands, New Geographies, 8 explores the new limits of islandness and gathers examples to reassert its relevance for design disciplines.
New Geographies, 9: Posthuman
“Posthuman” signals a historical condition in which the coordinates of human existence on the planet are altered by profound technological, ecological, biopolitical, and spatial transformations. Engendering new ways of being in the world, this condition challenges long-established definitions of the ‘human’ and of the human environment.
New Geographies, 12: Commons
This issue of New Geographies aims to foreground the significance of political thinking in the process of space production. It proposes the concept of commons as a mode of thinking that challenges assumptions in the design disciplines such as public and private spaces, local and regional geographies, and capital and state interventions.