Expanded Territories (ET) was set up in 2012 as an umbrella for a group of researchers, scholars and designers working on architecture in an expanded field. ET is intellectually ambitious, innovative, and forward-looking; it evokes a cultural project rather than merely a research field. It has been formed to bring into dialogue the work of those probing sites and practices previously considered outside the realm of architecture or urbanism – global mobilities, rural landscapes, resource extraction sites, energy infrastructures, data farms, the underground, the ocean, the atmosphere etc.
This work is framed by an emerging awareness of the planetary scale of urbanisation, the trans-national scope of culture, by the discovery of the anthropocene and by the ethical imperative to work with the agency and rights of human and non-human actants (animals, plants, minerals) in the shaping of built environments. The group seeks to find new ways to conceptualise, speak about and design architecture and cities in line with these conditions and objectives. Its members are engaged in research led practice and produce inter-disciplinary work between architecture, landscape architecture, critical studies, urban studies, infrastructure, cultural studies, science and technology studies, philosophy, geography and politics. It hosts regular seminars, symposia and conferences to engage in dialogue around these questions.
If a global urban age is indeed currently dawning, this circumstance cannot be understood adequately with reference to the formation of global cities or large- scale megacity regions but requires systematic consideration of the tendential, if uneven, operationalization of the entire planet - including terrestrial, subterranean, oceanic, and atmospheric space - to serve as an accelerating, intensifying process of urban industrial development. Insofar as the dominant model of capitalist urbanization continues to be based upon the generalized extraction, production, and consumption of fossil fuels, it is directly implicated in a f orm of global ecological plunder that has permanently altered the earth's soils, oceans, rivers, and atmosphere with unprecedented levels of pollution and toxic waste. (Brenner 2014, 47)
Brenner, N. (2014). “Urban Theory Without an Outside.” Harvard Design Magazine 37: 42-47.
Expanded territories is home to Monsoon Assemblages, a research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant Agreement No. 679873).