Field Notes on Design Activism 4
For the past five years, I have been tracking the development of Amaravati, a new capital city for the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. In 2019, following the appropriation of thousands of hectares of land and three years of expedited construction, elections and the resulting change in leadership brought the project to a halt. Since then, Covid, weak governance, and legal volleys have meant that little has been done for farmers whose livelihoods were devastated. Architects and planners played a part in this mess. They dutifully imagined a singular future for the new capital and ignored the instability of political, economic, and environmental alignments buttressing the scheme. When the future asserted its unknowability and plans fell apart, architecture’s wager on certainty collapsed.