Gacko coal-fired Thermal Power Plant, Bosnia and Herzegovina. 2011 (Photo: D. Zwangsleitner)

Deep Adaptation in the Spatial Disciplines

Publication of the SPOOL journal issue on “Deep Adaptation in the Spatial Disciplines” guest-edited by Daniel Zwangsleitner, Elettra Carnelli and Benedikt Boucsein

With contributions by Benedikt Boucsein, Elettra Carnelli, Elif-Simge Fettahoglu-Özgen, Mona Mahall, Flavia Alice Mameli, James Miller, Eric Nay, Uroš Pajović, Franziska Polleter, Mathilda Rosengren, Josefine Sarkez-Knudsen, Junichi Satoh, Asli Serbest, Taylor Stahle, Marie Ulber, Ana Jayone Yarza Pérez, Daniel Zwangsleitner

In all likelihood, we will face further crises such as the Covid 19 pandemic or similarly severe emergencies, especially those related to climate change and the biosphere crisis. They will cause the 21st century to be radically different from the 20th: Conventions, techniques, and social practices with which we are familiar will disappear. Our tasks and roles as architects and urban planners will change fundamentally in this process. We will live in increasingly volatile and vulnerable contexts and constellations.

So far, however, many actors in politics, but also in science, deny the vulnerability of our urban structures to these risks and changes, and decisive action is a long time coming.

Jem Bendell’s concept of “Deep Adaptation“, widely and controversially discussed since its first publication in 2018, proposes a radically different approach: He asks us to prepare for the collapse of certain systems that currently govern our lives – and to see this as an opportunity for positive change.

This change and the resulting challenges we face are not primarily technological, but social, economic, and organizational. Moreover, they are highly interdependent and all-encompassing; they require systemic changes, profound transformations, and adaptations of action. Thus, the goal is not to develop technical solutions in isolation, but rather to fundamentally rethink how we live, work, travel, and interact.

The research interest here follows the claim to explore the spatial dimensions of this “Deep Adaptation” and identify and develop operationalization approaches in the spatial disciplines of urban planning, landscape planning, urban design, and architecture.

with Benedikt Boucsein, Elettra Carnelli, Elif Simge Fettahoğlu-Özgen
Professorship for Urban Design – TU Munich