NEIL BRENNER CONTRIBUTES TO GSD PANEL ON ‘THE COUNTRYSIDE: RURALISM’ ORGANIZED BY GSD DEAN MOHSEN MOSTAFAVI
GSD Dean Mohsen Mostafavi has recently initiated a series of discussions of the “countryside” among GSD faculty, students and visiting scholars and designers. The series began last week with an opening lunchtime presentation by GSD faculty member Christopher Lee, followed by an evening lecture by Frédéric Bonnet of the Accademia dell'architettura, Mendrisio, Switzerland. Dean Mostafavi then moderated a lively and wide-ranging roundtable discussion with GSD professors Anita Berrizbeitia, Neil Brenner, John Dixon Hunt and Christopher Lee. In his contribution, UTL Director Neil Brenner presented his thesis that contemporary approaches to the “countryside” must be subsumed within the broader “urbanization question”. Across much of the planet, he argued, historically inherited hinterlands and “wilderness” zones are today being unevenly transformed into operational landscapes in support of capitalist industrial urbanization. We are delighted to see such topics now so actively under discussion at the GSD, and we look forward to continuing the dialogue with students, faculty and visitors in future sessions.
The event description follows:
The countryside is often presented as bucolic, close to nature; the city, by contrast, as artifice shaped by capital. Raymond Williams addressed many of the fallacies of this disjuncture in his classic study The Country and the City (1973). What has happened to the countryside since then, and what is the relationship between the urban and the rural today? While a great deal of scholarly attention has been dedicated to urban development and urbanization, the study of the rural has lacked a comparable systematic analysis. This event is the first in a series devoted to the countryside, intending to address that imbalance. The school also plans to offer a Rotterdam-based option studio devoted to the topic in the spring of 2016.