Architecture is a profession that designs our living spaces and, therefore, indirectly affects the way we live. And everything that is related to human beings is also related to architecture. Those who have power and are in authority have aimed to use the influence of architecture on human life for their own purposes and to have control over the masses. The strings that connect politics, people, and architecture reveal power dynamics and help us better understand the reasons that make up the environment we live in and in which we live. 

In order to understand these relationships, a series of questions should be answered. To begin with, we must first ask ourselves: What are the roles in society? Who are those in authority? What mechanisms do they use to maintain control? And finally, who are those under control? The key players in this dynamic can be summarised as follows: the state, corporate giants, and the influential families that run them. These elements emerge as the primary holders of power. They aim to exert their influence over society using a range of elements of control, including industrial infrastructure, economic systems, and legal frameworks.

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At the core of this relationship is the idea of agency—or the lack of it for those under control. Workers, communities, social groups, and even the physical structures of architecture and space are shaped by outside influences. They don’t have much say in the matter. Rules are forced upon them, stripping away their freedom and reducing them to pieces moved by powerful players in the political arena.

Authorities employ various tactics to control people, such as establishing hierarchies and creating feelings of exclusion. One method is by assigning specific roles to spaces and communities, which inhibits their ability to evolve or adapt. This phenomenon is known as identification. Identification occurs when authorities designate a function for an element—whether it’s a space, city, or societal segment—and subsequently define it solely by that function. For instance, consider industrial zones within cities. The majority of residents in these areas are factory workers, and the living conditions are largely influenced by state policies and factory owners.

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Furthermore, this control creates a close relationship of dependency. Controlled elements are tied to defined functions set by those in charge. Any attempt to deviate from these norms is quickly thwarted in order to maximise profit or maintain social order. As a result of that policy, the physical environment society lives in reflects the desires of the powerful, reinforcing their dominance and keeping inequalities in place.

Even though the powerful groups we’ve talked about hold a lot of sway, there are pockets of resistance in society. Communities express their influence through grassroots movements. They challenge imposed rules and push for spaces that cater to their needs. Architects, on the other hand, aim to design spaces that meet users’ needs while envisioning a world where built environments empower rather than oppress.

Trying to analyse the interaction between architecture and politics reveals its complexity. As we have come to know, the built environment isn’t neutral. It’s where the competing interests of the authorities and society clash, shaping people’s lives.

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When we look at how architecture and politics interact, we see that the places we live, our homes, streets, parks, and the whole physical environment we engage with become battlegrounds for power struggles. Most of the time, due to the struggles of our daily routines, we do not even realise how politics shapes our lives. Understanding this dynamic helps us make sense of the world around us. By recognizing how authority, society, and architecture interact, we can start to see the bigger picture and understand what shapes our lives and the spaces we occupy. 

The link between architecture and politics reminds us to stay alert and think critically about the systems that control our built environment. By questioning and exploring these structures, we can work towards creating places that embrace everyone, empower individuals, and promote fairness. At the end of the day, we should remind ourselves what architecture is for: the people. Instead of alienating society and their relations with the environment, promoting more engagement with the user and space, and adding society to the role of decision-makers might help us design better cities and have healthier communities. It’s about striving for a society where architecture isn’t just about buildings but about making positive changes that benefit us all.


Lara Tikenogullari, a wandering mind immersed in the infinite subtleties of architecture, seeks to explore and share the intricate delights with fellow architects and those who embrace a common love. This journey will host myriad discussions, not only about the field of architecture in terms of design but also its relationship with humanity, time, history, and so much more.