The scale of ecological crises made us realize that every kind of politics has always been cosmopolitics, politics of a cosmos. Cosmos embraces everything, including the multifarious natural and material entities that make humans act. The book examines cosmopolitics in its relation to design practice. Abandoning the modernist idea of nature as being external to the human experience - a nature that can be mastered by engineers and scientists from outside, the cosmpolitical thinking offers designers to embark in an active process of manipulating and reworking nature 'from within.' To engage in cosmopolitics, this book argues, means to redesign, create, instigate, and compose every single feature of our common experience. In the light of this new understanding of nature, we set the questions: What is the role of design if nature is no longer salient enough to provide a background for human activities? How can we foster designers' own force and make present what causes designers to think, feel, and act? How do designers make explicit the connection of humans to a variety of entities with different ontology: rivers, species, particles, materials and forces? How do they redefine political order by bringing together stars, prions and people? In effect, how should we understand design practice in its relation to the material and the living world? In this volume, anthropologists, science studies scholars, political scientists and sociologists rethink together the meaning of cosmopolitics for design. At the same time designers, architects and artists engage with the cosmopolitical question in trying to imagine the future of architectural and urban design. The book contains original empirical chapters and a number of revealing interviews with artists and designers whose practices set examples of 'cosmopolitically correct design'.
Albena Yaneva is Professor in Architectural Theory at the University of Manchester, Director of the Manchester Architecture Research Centre. She holds a master degree in Sociology from A0/00cole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (1997) and a doctoral degree from A0/00cole des Mines de Paris (2001). Albena's research draws on Actor-Network-Theory to explore creative practice and design invention, architectural controversies and politics of design, based on fieldworks in architecture, contemporary art, and museum studies. She is the author of Mapping Controversies in Architecture (2012), The Making of a Building: A Pragmatist Approach to Architecture (2009), and Made by the Office for Metropolitan Design: An Ethnography of Design (2009). Albena is the guest editor of Understanding Architecture, Accounting Society, 2008 (special issue of Science Studies) and Traceable Cities, 2012 (special issue of City, Culture & Society. She is the recipient of the RIBA President's Award for Outstanding University-located Research (2010). Alejandro Zaera-Polo is Professor of Architecture, and principal of AZPAML London /Barcelona. He graduated from the Escuela Tecnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid and Harvard GSD with Distinction and worked at OMA in Rotterdam prior to establishing FOA in 1993 where he has developed a successful international professional practice since. In parallel to his professional activities, Alejandro has developed a substantial role within academia. He was the Dean of the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, held the Berlage Chair at the Technical University of Delft and was the Dean of the Princeton School of Architecture. Alejandro was the first recipient of the Norman R. Foster Visiting Professorship at Yale. He has published extensively as a theorist in El Croquis, Quaderns, A+U, Arch+, Volume, Log and many other international magazines and is a member of the London School of Economics Urban Age project.