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As growth was the defining condition of the 20th century, so scarcity is set to define the 21st. Already it pervades political discourse and shapes our reading of the economy and the environment. But scarcity is not just the inevitable result of growth and resource exploitation - every innovation results in new scarcities. Scarcity is constructed daily through the creation of desire, it is designed. The authors of this timely essay set out to establish a more sophisticated understanding of scarcity. Moving beyond the idea that lack and inequality are simply laws of nature, they argue that scarcity can be challenged. The message for architects and designers - experts in working with constraints - is that scarcity is a process, and one that can be productive. This essay asks us to throw out our simplistic Malthusian graphs and escape the stranglehold that scarcity has on our imaginations.
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About the Author
Jon Goodbun teaches at Bartlett UCL, University of Westminster and Royal College of Art, where he runs the Department of Ontological Theatre. He co-guest-edited the Architectural Design issue Scarcity: Architecture in the Age of Depleting Resources (2012), and has published papers internationally on spatial politics, aesthetics and cognition. Michael Klein is an architect currently based in Vienna. He studied at the TU Vienna and the ESA Paris and graduated from the Academy of fine Arts Vienna in 2007. Since then, he has been working in the field of architecture, landscape architecture and urbanism in practice, teaching and research. Forthcoming publications include: "Modelling Vienna, Real Fictions in Social Housing" and Scarcity? Austerity Urbanism, in dérive 55. Andreas Rumpfhuber is an architect and researcher. He is principal of Expanded Design, an office for design and research. His publications include the books "Architektur immaterieller Arbeit" (2013), and Modeling Vienna, Real Fictions in Social Housing (forthcoming: 2014). Jeremy Till is an architect, educator and writer. He is Head of Central Saint Martins and Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of the Arts London. His written work includes Flexible Housing, Architecture Depends and Spatial Agency. All three of these won the RIBA President's Award for Outstanding Research, As an architect, he worked with Sarah Wigglesworth Architects on their pioneering building, 9 Stock Orchard Street.