The Five Thousand Pound Life

The United States faces two immense and inextricable challenges: how to reimagine the American way of life to address the impacts of climate change, and how to build a new and robust economic structure that offers viable and sustainable livelihoods and lifestyles across the income spectrum for all Americans. The Architectural League has launched The Five Thousand Pound Life—an initiative of public events, digital releases, and a major design study—as a contribution to what must be a broad collective effort spanning geographies, generations, occupations, disciplines, and ideologies to address those intertwined challenges.

To present a vast scope of relevant issues with navigational and conceptual clarity, content is grouped here into themes of Economics & Investment, Engagement & Practice, Design & Technology, and Communication & Ethics. Visit these 5KL theme pages using the links below to find a range of content from different vantage points. Included on this overview page are a short questionnaire with experts from different fields, a curated reading list, and an essay that frames the 5KL initiative.

Economics & Investment
A focus on the core connection between our individual and collective channeling of resources and the carbon byproducts of economic exchange.

Engagement & Practice
An exploration of democratic citizenship and decision-making within, and outside of, the confines of professional practice.

Design & Technology
An inquiry into the relationship between the iterative process of design and technological advancement in our pursuit of prosperity.

Communication & Ethics
An emphasis on understanding our relationships with, and responsibilities to, other individuals, communities, nations, and generations.


Originally published: September 11, 2013; Updates ongoing