The journal New Geographies aims to examine the emergence of the geographic—a new but for the most part latent paradigm in design today—to articulate it and bring it to bear effectively on the agency of design. After more than two decades of seeing architecture and urbanism as the spatial manifestation of the effects of globalization, it is time to consider the expanded agency of the designer.
Designers are increasingly compelled to shape larger scales and contexts, to address questions related to infrastructural problems, urban and ecological systems, and cultural and regional issues. These questions, previously confined to the domains of engineering, ecology, or regional planning, now require articulation through design. Encouraging designers to reexamine their tools and develop strategies to link attributes previously understood to be either separate from each other or external to the design disciplines, those questions have also opened up a range of technical, formal, and social repertoires for architecture and urbanism. Although in the past decade different versions of landscape and infrastructural urbanism have emerged in response to similar challenges, this new condition we call “the geographic” points to more than a shift in scale. Much of the analysis in architecture, landscape, and urbanism—of emergent urban mutations and global changes on the spatial dimension—comes by way of social anthropology, human geography, and economics, and the journal aims to extend these arguments by asking how the design practices can have a more active and transformative impact on the forces that shape contemporary urban realities.
As the synthesizing role that geography aspired to play among the physical, the economic, and the sociopolitical is now being increasingly shared by design, New Geographies is interested in new associations or linkages between the social and the physical, the form and the context, the very large and the very small. Through critical essays and design projects, the journal aims to open up discussions on the expanded agency of the designer, agency both as a form of capacity in relation to new techniques and strategies, and as a faculty of acting, power, and disciplinary repositioning.
New Geographies is a journal founded and produced by doctoral candidates at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD). The journal is made possible through the support of the Dean's Office at the Harvard GSD and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. It is distributed by Harvard University Press.