New progressive architecture: Designing for cities in end times | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2040-6134
  • E-ISSN: 2040-6142


Alongside investment banks and bankers, architecture and architects should be blamed for the global economic crisis that hit cities in 2008. Risky financial speculations were driven by a real estate bubble that relied on the production of spectacular, expensive buildings by the architecture industry. Four years later, contemporary architecture (especially in Europe) still fails to engage with or promote socially aware, progressive urban thinking. The tradition of socially engaged architecture has almost vanished. That attitude is apparent only in remnant form – small initiatives focused on buildings rather than on the built environment as a whole. Our new cities of austerity require a reassessment of this attitude, and a fresh generation of architects must be educated to address the challenges facing our urban environment.This article presents a theoretical framework of a new paradigm of radical architecture and radical architecture education, as a function of strong social and political positions taken by students. This framework is the current result of three years of work conducted at the M.Arch. programme at the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom, including projects from 2009 to 2012: one in Riga, Latvia, the second in Gdansk, Poland and the most recent in Zielona Góra, Poland. It will illustrate how architecture and urban design could become a tool for social and political change and a means to create liveable cities from the ruins of the neo-liberal model.


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