AlterRurality is a moving constellation of concepts, natures, and practices generating new potentialities for human settlements inspired by rural values. Current representations of the rural are tainted by the predominance of urban cultures. Rural space is suffering from increasing vulnerability, on physical, geographical and social levels. The representations and the imaginaries of rurality are in crisis, and therefore, so are our conceptions of the transformation of rural spaces. Can an architectural approach contribute to renewed understandings in trans-disciplinary settings?
Rurality is understood here as a complex body of economic, ecologic, societal and ethical attitudes and values. What is it that organises rurality? What can we learn from it in an increasingly humanist age of sustainability and facing the limitations of growth economy? Is rurality a relevant theme for innovating human settlements in contemporary society? Inhabiting rurally, or rural space, may not be an urban act, one of ‘civilizing’ rural space according to urban standards – it may very well be that such an act needs to be one of ‘repeasantation’ in its largest sense. The construction of an alterRurality is a search for new dwelling modes by inscribing rurality into contemporary practices, skills. It is about an ethical way of being and living locally, in sustainable ways, within a renewed contract with nature.
Pieter Versteegh is professor at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architectur de Paris and founder and director of Psyché, research group in architecture and the construction of identity. He is cofounder of ARENA architectural research group and initiator of the ARENA AlterRurality network. Former professor of architectural theory and practice at the Western Switzerland University of applied sciences, Fribourg, former head of its architectural education and research programmes and founding direction member of the Jointmaster of Architecture, he has been guest professor at the EPF Lausanne, the Berlage Institute and Kentucky University, and conducted an architectural firm in Geneva. His research focusses on the link between architecture, territory and the construction of identity.
Organisation: Đorđe Stojanović, Ana Nikezić, Anđelka Ćirović