SCIBE explores how scarcity-a condition defined by socially, culturally, geographically, and temporally differentiated insufficiencies-might affect the creativity of different actors involved in the production of the built environment, and how innovation might contribute to positive changes in relevant processes. The built environment has been chosen as the context for the research because it expands the conventional aesthetic understanding of creativity to include wide ranging societal forces.

The project aims to bring to the fore the limits within which the built environment is produced and appropriated, and the reasons for these limits. The processes to which creativity might be applied include economic, social, and cultural issues; design processes; building processes; the occupation and appropriation of, and adjustments to, the built environment; and resource cycles that are an integral part of the built environment and determine its sustainability.

SCIBE posits that well-being might be achieved within conditions of limited resources using new forms of creativity. What happens if we accept scarcity as a given condition to work with rather than a something to escape from? Does scarcity overwhelm the operation of creativity by presenting a set of inescapable constraints, or do limits stimulate creativity in different and potentially innovative ways?

The research is based on the analysis of housing projects and their urban settings in four different European contexts: London, Oslo, Reykjavik, and Vienna. Together, they form the empirical ground for the study.