Landscapes of Energy

20 March 2013
@ The Orpheum Annex
823 Seymour Street, Vancouver BC


The triad of energy, economy, and environment is again at the forefront of concerns. However, dominated by a positivist techno-economic quest to increase capacity and improve performance, the energy discourse represents space as an “externality:” it slides costs out of sight and abstracts the role of space in the production of value and social relations. The talk proposes a critical spatial inquiry on the relations of energy and space to understand, critique, and ultimately influence choices regarding energy options. Building on Landscapes of Energy, the Harvard GSD New Geographies issue she edited, Ghosn examines the geographic as a paradigm that bears effectively on the relations of design and energy. The goals of the lecture are threefold: to spatialize large technical systems of energy, to critically analyze existing and speculative energy visions, and to reflect on energy futures in relation to contemporary assertions of ecology and sustainability. By making visible this infrastructure, Landscapes of Energy is an invitation to articulate design’s environmental agency and its appropriate scales of intervention.

Rania Ghosn is an architect, geographer, and currently Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan. Her doctoral dissertation from Harvard GSD, entitled Geographies of Energy: The Case of the Trans-Arabian Pipeline, explores transformations of geographies as they are incorporated into systems of energy. Ghosn is founding editor of the journal New Geographies, which focuses on contemporary issues of architecture and urbanism, and is editor-in-chief of the journal’s Landscapes of Energy (2010).