Here is my part of the presentation.
Architecture reflects the way societies are. It reveals its culture and its aims. By studying the architecture of a place, we can know what their traditions and daily life were. It has also symbolised the power of a nation and hence, leaders have used it as a tool to express its power and authority. One example of this can be the roman and the Nazis. If we take for instance the arc du triumph in Paris, which was built between 1806 and 183 when Napoleon became the king in 1804. we can see that the arch du triumph takes after the roman architecture to evoke the greatness of an empire. the Nazis for example built in massive scale to show their power and control.
It is not surprising that politics and architecture are so deeply related since besides private investors, the state is the main investor in architecture. All around the world, governments have invested great quantity of resources to leave a legacy. In china, there is the forbidden city, it is a palatial complex that represented the divine authority for over five hundred years. Thousands and thousands of citizens took part in the construction process.
But not only are the great landmarks of a city representative of their time, also common buildings tell the story of people who live and have lived in there. Just by taking a look into the architecture of a city we can understand how it is arranged. Just think about Valencia. The buildings in Orriols, el Cabanyal are vastly different from the ones on the city centre. Also, by analysing the urbanism of the city we can know how it has been created. This is a plan of my hometown: Elche. We can see that the streets of the original part of the city have no symmetry whatsoever, while the ones that were built later are well structured.
Obviously, if architecture and politics are related, so must be economy and architecture. However, it is not always the economic growth that leads into an investment on architecture, it can also be the other way round. One example of the first situation could be the USA. In the XX century as their economy and population grew so did their buildings. Nevertheless, sometimes a population growth can lead to overpopulation problems, a huge problem nowadays that affects countries from all around the world, like las favelas in Brazil. Consequently, poor and unsafe architecture is built, and the cities are segregated like in La Cañada real of Madrid.
As I said before, sometimes it is the architecture that shapes the city. The best example it is the Bilbao Effect or the Gugenheim Effect. Thanks to the musem designed by Frank Gehry, the city could turn its industry-based economy that was in decline to a one based more on tourism and services. Along with the museum, came other improvements such as the cleaning of the river an urban renewal. In only three years the construction costs were recouped.
After having seen all of those examples, it is clear that architecture goes beyond a simple concrete or wooden structure, it is where society, economy, politics and art meet. And it is our job as future architects to ask ourselves which story do we want to tell, which path will our work take.