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About us

The urbanization process and, along with it, what can be called the urbanization of (in)justice are generated primarily in and from dense urban agglomerations, but in the present age of accelerating globalization, the urban condition has extended its influence to all areas: rural, suburban, metropolitan, exurban, even wilderness, par land, desert, tundra, and rain forest. in this sense, the whole world has been or is being urbanized to some degree, making the search for spatial justice relevant at many different geographical scales, from the most global to the most local, and everywhere in between. Edward Soja, seeking spatial justice (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010), 6.

ln tracing lithium’s agency across telescoping scales of battery, body, landscape, and cosmos via foot, camera, conversation, cartography, and design speculation, an even more entangled narrative emerges. lithium’s utopian promise relies on a huge blind spot for its users: as part of an interconnected network of relations with other elements, landscapes, and bodies, lithium’s acquisition currently depends on extractive processes that are argued to damage ecosystems and exploit neighboring communities. Matthew Seibert. tracing the green energy paradox across battery, body, landscape, and cosmos. in atlas of material worlds. Routledge. 2021. 97-146.

 

What

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The Urban Design Research Studio UD 8020: Lithium Matters explores the nexus between the city and its borderless hinterlands by scrutinizing the impacts of the insatiable appetite for lithium that powers our cosmopolitan lifestyles.
The semester’s design explorations build on the premise that urbanization is a boundless phenomenon characterized by territorial homogenization and fragmentation and the uneven and unjust distribution of resources and opportunities. Centering our investigation on the extended operative geographies of Lithium, our work considers the geopolitical, socioenvironmental, and spatiotemporal entanglements behind claims on the metal’s instrumentality powering the green energy transition.
With global competition to secure access to Lithium reserves and production, what new urbanisms may emerge from the massive investments underway? Can we imagine a world less reliant on mineral extraction and consumption? How can urban designers steward the imagination of other possible futures driven by more just practices of urbanization?

Why

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Educational Facilities

University of Virginia

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University of Michigan

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Pontificia universidad Catolica

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