Theme 5 in the Parlour Reading Room explores climate change through an intersectional lens and imagining the “still possible worlds” that might be created throughout the climate crisis.

Engage with the materials, have a chat with your reading group and watch this month’s Reading Room Conversation with Sumita Singha and Natalie Osborne – available via our Vimeo on Demand channel.

This theme looks at the climate crisis through an intersectional lens, imagining the “still possible shared futures”, to quote Natalie Osborne. We consider inequalities within climate advocacy, how power structures may be renegotiated as climate change accelerates, and the role built environment professionals might have within climate justice.

We explore ideas from Natalie Osborne, Sumita Singha, Gloria Walton, AM Kanngieser, Rivermouth and many more! Find the links and references below, as well as an extended list of supplementary materials if you would like to delve deeper. For more details about how to get involved, see the Reading Room FAQs.

Recommended materials

  • Rivermouth, Maiwar [poem], Subtropical Metropolis?.
    Approximate reading time: 7 mins

Supplementary materials


Book stack discussion prompts

Book Stack facilitator to go first and pass around the group. Remember the questions are just there as a prompt – move through them as required, allowing other thoughts, comments and questions to arise naturally. 

  • What does climate justice mean to you? What would radical inclusion look like in the climate movement and climate justice?
  • How might considering the climate crisis through an intersectional lens impact or shift the way built environment professions work and understand climate change?
  • In her essay, Natalie Osborne asks, “how can a politics of failure and a politics of depression help us form communities?” How is the climate crisis challenging the meaning of community and home? How might we redefine these concepts?
  • As built environment professionals, in what ways can we channel ennui over climate inaction into “still possible worlds” (Osborne, 2018)?
  • Osborne states that “feminism for shared urban futures must attend to place, including the violence that co-produced these places and which perpetuates itself in how places are known, governed and planned.” What might it mean to think and do feminism with place?

Reading Room conversationalists

Sumita Singha

Sumita is an award-winning architect, academic and author with her own design practice, Eco=logic, which has worked internationally. Sumita has received the UIA:UNESCO International design award, Women In Business award at the House of Commons and Atkins Inspire award for Architecture, amongst others. She was included in an exhibition about 28 women who had made a difference to the life and culture of Britain. Sumita received the OBE in 2021 for services to architecture. 

Sumita established Architects For Change, the Equality forum at the Royal Institute of British Architects and is past Chair of Women In Architecture. Sumita was elected to the RIBA Council in 2011 and again in 2021. She has served on many RIBA committees for over 25 years. She sits on the RIBA Professional conduct panel. Sumita is the Board Trustee for Education for the RIBA. She is the co-founder of Asian Architects Association. Sumita is also the author of Architecture For Rapid Change and Scarce Resources (Routledge, 2012, reprinted 2020), Autotelic Architect (Routledge, 2016, reprinted 2020), editor of the four volume Major works: Women In Architecture (Routledge, 2018), Future Healthcare Design (RIBA Publishing, 2020) and contributing editor to Rethink: Design Guide, (RIBA publishing, 2021). She speaks regularly about architecture on BBC and on podcasts.

Natalie Osborne

Dr Natalie Osborne is a Lecturer in the School of Engineering and Built Environment at Griffith University. She is interested in transformative pedagogies in planning and geography, and in radical, community-based education within, against, and beyond the university. Her research interests include: social, spatial, and environmental justice in cities; climate justice and just transitions; radical spatial politics; more-than-human publics; emotional geographies; public spaces; and public feelings. She is interested in feminist, queer, and anti-colonial practices of thinking and organising around urban and climate justice, and the storying of possible futures from positions of precarity, loss, and failure. She is a co-producer of Radio Reversal, a critical theory and politics program broadcast on 4ZZZ 102.1FM, and an organiser with the Brisbane Free University.