The Spatial Politics of Care


Sara Jacobs

How might a designer think and act relationally? How does one embody a politics of care in a time of climate change, racial violence, and capitalist ruins? Geographer Doreen Massey describes this process as the coalescing of space in relation to other subjects and structures co-constituted through complex power relations. (Massey 2005) With attention to ruination and repair, this work considers how relational landscape approaches—shaped through feminist geography and science and technology studies—can enact practices of care between people and with the more-than-human world. The seminar is grounded in a spatial justice-oriented framework to critically examine how scientific knowledge shapes and is shaped by power-laden societal conditions and the ways perceptions of technological objectivity are layered with political and cultural values. A relational approach to care suggests a design process that embodies an ecological politics of social justice that tactically and aesthetically practices interdependence, vulnerability, and creativity. Through the lens of care, this work interprets underrepresented socioecological landscapes through relational knowledges of care while asking how the care of knowledge might inform our own design practices.