Architecture and Care: Ethics and Aesthetics in Social Architecture Initiatives

After decades of neoliberal economic policy, a new phase began in the critical discourse in architecture in the early 21st century, which is reflected in the perception of architects who strive to influence reality with professional tools, in planning architectural projects for marginalized population groups in Israel and the West Bank. The book Architecture and Care associates these initiatives with a recent architectural trend from the last decades in the West that is characterized by social involvement.

Based on the “ethics of care,” a feminist moral conception, which places a person’s relationship to another at the heart of ethical debate, Shelly Cohen examines the ethical motives of social initiatives in architecture. Because we do not tend to describe the field of architecture in terms of concern, the book asks the characteristics of the concept of care developed by theorist Joan Tronto from the fields of gender and political science to the field of architecture.

The book sets clear criteria for evaluating social architecture: the architects discussed take an architectural initiative or join the initiatives of civil society organizations or a municipal authority; The projects meet planning needs that the authorities and the market do not fulfill or neglect; They involve communities and tenants, and they make use of design tools that are sensitive to the uniqueness of the users. In order to establish the connection of architectural design to vulnerable users, the term “user-dependent architecture” was developed in the book.