We must reconsider the role of the architect today because society has serious climatic, political, and economic crises. Climate change has exacerbated hurricanes tearing apart cities and droughts driving people off their farmlands — resulting in the largest human migration in history. Cities urgently need to be built and rebuilt.
Urbanization has been dominated by a new phase of late capitalism Naomi Klein calls “disaster capitalism,” in which not only are surplus values reinvested in the urbanization process, but with an undemocratic imposition in vulnerable disaster areas. The state of emergency is not the exception, but it is on the first page of the economic rulebook. The shock of emergency provides the perfect laboratory for imposing new economic experiments on societies to try and create even freer markets. Shock urbanization will be imposed in the 21st century while globally constructing cities and especially in the third world.
When we build society, we have an opportunity to recreate the human spirit. Therefore, architects must not become the passive foot soldiers of the undemocratic disaster capitalism; shock urbanization values the banks at the expense of the everyday people. Architects must be the foot soldiers of urbanization; but they must build “cities for people, not for profit.” They must strategize on cross-scalar connections between the local, regional, and global. Then they can build democratically with a critical spatial consciousness by the people’s vision because everyone has a Right to the City.