The 2023 Architecture Humanities Research Conference, AHRA, is dedicated to: Situated Ecologies of Care.
Elke Krasny’s keynote lecture “Living with a wounded planet. On building care” will address how historical acts of care violence and structural carelessness of capitalist-colonial-patriarchal regimes of modernity and their spatialization through architecture and the built environment have wounded the planet. Today, humans and all other living beings inhabit the air and the water and the earth and the infrastructures and the buildings and the technologies of a deeply wounded planet. At the same time, the lecture will address that architecture as a primary form of care has not only defined the spatialization of care and reproductive labors according to patriarchal-colonial-capitalist logics, but also has the potential to create and provide an emancipatory and transformative care praxis. Introducing the notion of scales of care, the lecture examines how scales of care can be understood through feminist epistemologies-as-embodied practices and thus become scales of concern, curiosity, cure, and worry that have to be brought into the reproductive, regenerative, and restorative capacities of architecture for everyday lived lives and for beginning to heal a deeply wounded planet, we are part of.

Information on the AHRA conference can be found here: https://ahra2023.org

Urban change throughout the 1980s and 1990s was marked by processes of deindustrialization. Cities, and entire regions, suffered a decline in productive industrial activity. As factories or plants closed down, a new type of architecture moved in with style. Urban regeneration was premised on the promise of the icon or the landmark. Ranging from corporate headquarters to museums, universities to football stadiums, opera houses to convention centres, markets to airports, architecture served the global economy by promoting iconic experiences. How is such experience produced, and, most importantly, how is it reproduced on the daily level? This lecture examines such iconic moves in architecture as they complexly interconnect urban regeneration and daily reproduction. Looking at the effective and affective dimensions of such iconic moves of architecture under neoliberal capitalism, we raise the questions what urban regeneration means and how it is maintained through reproduction. Focusing on the material dimension of architecture, the economy of production and the economy of reproduction are considered as equally relevant.

Iconic Moves: Regeneration + Reproduction
Elke Krasny

Reflections on Urban Curating, Decolonizing Urban Memory  contributed to Heritage Days 2022 in Brussels, to the outdoor lab and co-creation workshop in front of the Pavilion of Human Passions, built in the form of a Greek temple by Victor Horta in the Park du Cinquentenaire in Brussels. Starting from the name of this park, the so-called Jubelpark, is crucial to understand the ongoingness of coloniality through the unquestioned presence of colonial pasts at symbolic, material, and environmental levels as this presence of colonial pasts effects political, social, affective, and epistemic hauntings and violences. 

The outdoor lab was hosted by ASBL. Horizon 50 200, created under the initiative of Thomas Dermine, State Secretary for Science Policy, Recovery Program and Strategic Investments with the goal of the redevelopment of Parc du Cinquentenaire on the occasion of the bicentenary of Belgium in 20230. 

Vortrag bei einer Konferenz des DIFU Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik in Berlin: Kuratierte Innenstädte. Resssortübergreifende Zusammenarbeit in der kulturellen Stadtentwicklung

Inhaltlich ging es dem Deutschen Institut für Urbanistik um folgende Fragen: Wie können sich Kulturinstitutionen in die (Innen-)Städte hin öffnen – das städtische Leben im öffentlichen Raum einbeziehen und aufnehmen, bspw. mit  zivilgesellschaftlichen urbanen Initiativen zusammenarbeiten? Welche Formen der Zusammenarbeit werden für stadtgesellschaftliche Anliegen erprobt, welche die Künste mit umfassen? Wie können künstlerische und kuratorische Strategien dazu beitragen, (verödende) Innenstädte in neuer Weise zu beleben? Wie  könnten dafür Entscheidungen und Verantwortung zwischen den beteiligten Akteur*innen geteilt werden? Anliegen ist, den Teilnehmenden aus den kommunalen Verwaltungen (aus den Ressorts Stadtentwicklung und Stadtplanung, Kultur, Wirtschaftsförderung) einen Blick über den Tellerrand zu geben und sie anzuregen, die damit verbundenen Möglichkeiten für ihre Städte in den Blick zu nehmen.


Der Vortrag Architektur als Infrastruktur des Sorgetragens: an einem anderen Architekturverständnis arbeiten war ein Beitrag zu dem Panel Haltung. Die Fragen nach der Haltung in der Architektur wurde an Hand der folgenden Fragen erörtert: Wie verändert der Wandel der am Bau beteiligten Berufe hin zu mehr Diversität die Baukulturvermittlung? Welche Haltung ist für einen baukulturellen Dialog in Schule und Studium zukunftsfähig?



Elke Krasny’s lecture thinks about dimensions of care in architecture, opening complex and difficult questions of power, ethics, and futurity. What can we learn from revisiting past solutions to building justice and care for public housing or public health?


Care is critical to survivable and living with a deeply wounded planet. Architecture is implicated in, responsible for, responsible to, and entangled with producing conditions for continued livability and planetary inhabitability. Critical Care contributed to a public debate hosted by Dreyers Fond in Copenhagen. EARTH #3, the Dreyer Foundation concluded the series of events that put space, frameworks and the rights of the planet up for debate. The debate was curated by Marianne Krogh. 


The lecture Living with a Wounded Planet contributed to the transnational conference Visualizing Care Imaginaries & Infrastructures. Organized in the context of the Revaluing Care Net at Duke University, the conference focused on the labor of caring — for human and non-human worlds — which is often invisible, underpaid, unrecognized. The conference placed the emphasis on imaginaries to underline the utopian dimension of redesigning care, the importance of infrastructures sheds light on concrete practices and assemblages that are built through these alternative designs. 


Scales of Care: Affective Ecologies and Reproductive Urbanism
Starting from the observation of care fatigue and environmental exhaustion, take back care focuses on socio-ecological justice. Exhaustion and fatigue come to bear most on those who are always already considered key caregivers and essential workers. Be it the labor of guardians of the land, who restore conditions for animals and plants, be it the labor of kinship practices for family as well as community needs, such necessary care is taken for granted.
Those who provide such life-making care outside fee-paid or salaried regimes, are suffering from care exhaustion and care fatigue. Looked at through a historico-environmental lens, the environment has not fared much better and been understood to relentlessly provide what humans need for free. Environmental fatigue and ecological exhaustion result from this exploitative approach to the environment. The woman-nature nexus that has been at the core of racial capitalism and the patriarchal ideology of modernity, will be re-examined to stress the interdependence of humans and nature in care. Nature and bodies thus appear as interlinked sites of feminist struggles and everyday anti-capitalist, degrowth practices for eco-social justice. Capitalism’s answer to care needs, be they social or environmental, is always through the market. Care is being turned into a service, social services or eco-services. This leads to the relentless exploitation of resources and reproduction, as analyzed by Marxist feminism and transnational decolonial feminism. Foregrounding the economic relevance of care to anti-capitalist strategies as well as the political dimension of everyday feminisms, the workshop builds on Audre Lorde’s observation that “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation´, and that is an act of political warfare.” Everyday care feminism focuses on the reproductive crisis that leads to human and environmental injustice and seeks to work for degrowth on an everyday level. The workshops use the iceberg framework developed by Gibson-Graham in their book Take Back the Economy to work out how anti-capitalist strategies connect caring labor, self-
care practices, spacial and environmental concerns. 

How can, and will, architects and architecture respond to present-day conditions under neoliberal capitalism based on the resource-extraction and labor-exploitation?  How does response-able architecture build care?