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"To work in architecture you are so much involved with society, with politics, with bureaucrats. It's a very complicated process to do large projects. You start to see the society, how it functions, how it works. Then you have a lot of criticism about how it works." - Ai Wei Wei
Response to Henri Lefebvre: State, Space, World
8- Social Product and Use Value
Henri Lefebvre seems to be interested in what many living thinkers love to study and find an understanding to: How do we rethink the stimulations of the economy and reorganize the injustices of social classes through the activation of designed space in the living environemnt?. It's a compelling topic but at least for me has grown to be a very complicated study. There will always be a superior class juxtaposing and imposing regulations upon the lower classes. My opinion on a solution is disregarding the theory of a system of "categorized order", which entitles others with characteristics of elitism. I am more interested in the answers and products of natural education.
As explained by Lefebvre, "the natural space is irreversibly gone". This natural living, this natural space and natural society led by the influences of education cannot merely exist with all the economic inequalities that lead to the distinctions of different cultures, the categorization of classes and in all the disparities of race and poverty. Such as in many other regions of the world where education is free and health insurance is provided, America shall seek a change in the quality of space. Essentially, the overall production of its environment and social relations shall be enhanced through the same notions of education and health.
In a crucial time, as today, in where America has not seen so much racial division and deprivation since that of the late 60's, it is imperative to breakdown these social barriers created by economic wealth. An economic wealth that is led and empowered by the conservative supremacy of America. Lefebvre states " if there is a history of space, if there is a specificity to space according to periods, societies, modes, and relations of production, then there is a space of capitalism, that is, of the society managed and dominated by the bourgeoisie". He references many theories of sir Karl Marx, but he disregards any notions of communism as he is more interested in socialism, as he should be. It is understood that the progression of a society, of a living environment, is parallel to the stimulation of its own economy. But again if we seek to improve the social relations of our spaces we must put full emphasis on the education of those that inhabit it.
As architects and designers, are goal is to design cities and environments that do not enclose or separate cultures and classes. Instead, our goal should be to enforce the conglomeration and intermingle of all citizens no matter what their respective professions, culture, education or financial stabilities are in hopes of creating social relations that through space empower one another for a progressive future. So as we design, It is not about place making or exactly about "activating designed spaces", it's more about not letting cities and cultures disempower themselves because of social, health or economical injustices or inequalities. We must take into ourselves to design quality living, to understand the different materials, colors that empower the physiological state of the inhabitant. To use these studies and discoveries to bring the different talents and people together in an effort to create a system that empowers itself through one another in a productive living environment.