University of Florida, Gainesville
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
August 1, 2019 - 5:00 pm
As an expression of aesthetic luxury, water has found its way into architecture through reflective pools, festive fountains, and even suburban swimming pools. While deeply experiential, such treatment discounts the many pluralities and values that water holds. It is a natural resource, an ecosystem to be managed, and, even, a sacred element. From a celebratory role in one culture, water in another context, becomes a critical metric for human development. As an economy, it is a commodity to be sold, bought and fought for across personal, state and national borders. As the human race enters an epoch marked by critical water issues, how might its role and value be defined, re-defined and challenged through the built environment? Across scales, in projects ranging from modest to expansive, design reveals a culture’s attitude towards water. Indeed, values about water become subconsciously embedded in design proposals, reflecting a multiplicity of world-views. How, then, can deeply ingrained values about water be brought to the surface and challenged through the practice of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and planning? How can designers question and then craft changes in socio-cultural, religious, environmental, political and economic values regarding water?
From non-design criteria, values are developed that underpin the planning of cities, the designs of critical landscape infrastructure, conservation of aquatic habitats, celebratory public places, and the detailing of taps and toilets in buildings. When water is scarce, values underpin policies regulating rain-water and snow harvesting in private buildings. Values encourage massive expenditures for the unsustainable infrastructural footprints of many north-American cities just as resilient landscape infrastructure is dismissed as mere greenery. As sea-levels rise around the world, values surreptitiously dictate which communities will survive and which will decline. Values govern the massive habitat loss along the Gulf Coast as it succumbs to shipping corridors while the world casts a disapproving eye on the Arabian Gulf for its celebration of oil wealth through desert water follies. Values drive millions in India to visit one of the most polluted rivers in the world, just as the Army Corps of Engineers sets apart unsustainable riverine flood infrastructure as untouchable. And while some developed nations have the luxury of liking or disliking composting or low-flush toilets, many in developing countries have no choice. Water and its availability, quantity, quality, modality, price, management, and use affects public policies, federal budgets, capital markets, election campaigns, public health, food security, and housing. This issue of the Journal of Architectural Education asks, how can design progressively negotiate these many pluralities across scales and concerns?
Submissions for JAE 74:1 may include interrogations or provocations, reflections or predictions, drawn from across a range of design disciplines, scope and scales. Scholarship of Design submissions may reveal, analyze and question values through theoretical or critical lenses. Design as Scholarship submissions may uncover and speculate ways in which designs of the built environment – from systems, processes, places to objects and details – challenge or perpetuate these values. We are particularly interested in historical precedents, manifestos, and anticipatory projections which undertake the kind of radical reframing towards water that may, in turn, inform future development in the Anthropocene.
Please review the Author Guide prior to submitting your manuscript at: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/joae.