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Bilsamhället: Ideologi, expertis och regelskapande i efterkrigstidens Sverige
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology. (Teknikhistoria)
2008 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

During the 1950s the number of cars in Sweden increased almost fivefold and the country attained the highest level of car ownership per capita in Europe. The rise and establishment of mass motoring was dramatically illustrated by the violent encounter between the car and the city. Despite the fact that congestion as well as road accidents were well-known, everyday occurrences, they reached previously unimagined heights through the growth of mass motoring. In this doctoral thesis Per Lundin focuses on the emergence of a group of planning experts as the key advocates of the idea of the “car society” as the solution to these problems. By fully adapting society to the car it would be possible to eliminate congestion and road accidents, thus affirming the continuing advance of the car. This ideal, which originated in the United States, became the goal and the dream of these experts.

The general question addressed by Lundin is to what extent the actions and the ideologies of the experts interacted with the advent of mass motoring and the extensive urban building during the post-war period. In order to answer this question Lundin analyzes, firstly how the planning experts laid claim to the problems of congestion and road accidents, thereby restating them as exclusive planning problems, secondly how guidelines and standards for a car-conscious planning of cities and communities were developed based on the formulation of this problem and thirdly how, and to what extent, the guidelines and standards concerned were implemented in the town planning process.

In the thesis Lundin argues that the dreams about a post-war Swedish society entirely adapted to the car by and large were realized. One important explanation of the fact that the physical adaptation of cities and societies to the car could proceed so quickly, on such a large scale and in similar forms all over the country, is found in the planning rules developed by the experts. The rules were the embodiment of the untroubled and unreflecting dreams nourished by the planning experts of the 1950s and the 1960s. Through the rules these ideological conceptions were reinforced and disseminated in a manner almost unable to stop. As the rules quickly were integrated with the planning instruments of administrative bodies locally, regionally and nationally, they set the tone for the extensive urban renewal of the following decades.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholmia förlag , 2008. , 405 p.
Trita-HOT, ISSN 0349-2842 ; 2058
, Monografier utgivna av Stockholms stad, ISSN 0282-5899 ; 193
Keyword [en]
congestion, history, history of science, history of technology, expertise, housing, ideology, motoring, planning, road accidents, rule-making, Sweden, 20th century, urban history, urban planning, urban renewal
National Category
History of Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4672ISBN: 978-91-7031-200-7OAI: diva2:13356
Public defence
2008-04-11, E1, KTH, Lindstedtsvägen 3, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
QC 20100824Available from: 2008-03-19 Created: 2008-03-19 Last updated: 2010-08-24Bibliographically approved

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