Can you tell me a little about the social cost you mentioned and how this links to value?
So, the processes of extraction and processing of materials are often dangerous to health – poor air quality and extremes of heat in mines being one example. That’s to say, it puts people’s bodies at risk. There’s very little acknowledgement of that, and it’s not accounted for in the price of the goods. Externalising labour is very common. It is often happening in the global south, which perpetuates that colonial relationship in these supply chains.
The book takes a stand against globalisation and instead focuses on the local. To scale, it raises questions about agriculture and land use and how we should engage differently with our landscapes.
Our approach is very much about starting with a landscape and mapping its ecological territory. At our practice, we consider the land, asking what it would need and how it might flourish. Depending on the land, that could be the reintroduction of water and beginning the process of renewal, which will lead to saturation of the ground and the proliferation of plant species. And then we can begin to think about what sort of building materials might work here. It’s a bit like going back in time to when we understood how things were made, where they came from, and the production and extraction were local and far more hands-on. Things didn’t move far then, and that’s the approach we advocate, that return to the local. It is about building up very particular, nuanced knowledge between those who make and those who grow. Again, it is a return in time in many ways.