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“Contextual modernism” – is it possible? Steps to improved housing strategy
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Built Environment Analysis.
2011 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Modernist planning emerged in the latter part of the 19th century, largely in response to changes Industrial Revolution brought on cities in Western Europe. The modernist concept of planning, which emerged in response to a very particular time and set of regional circumstances, spread throughout the world in the following decades. The result, where the idea was simplistically accepted was a disaster. In contrast however, cities of Northern Europe, among others, are mentioned for their successful revision of modernist principles to meet their local conditions. However, early on attempts to revise modernism according to local conditions such as done by Swedish architects in the 1930’s and by Germany during  the Nazi period are often understated in intellectual debates about the ‘modernist model’. Paying particular attention to housing, this paper discusses the contrasting results of modernist planning approaches in industrialized verses low-income countries and welfare verses market driven economies. 

What local conditions were central for the success /or failure of modernist housing models in different contexts? This context question will be used to identify what architects and policy makers can do to reconcile the global market and political drive to ‘modernise’ with  local ambitions of citizens for decent housing.

The study is largely based on review of literature but also with a selective referencing of evidences from empirical studies. Attempt is made to use body of knowledge from theoretical critics of modernism by Manfredo Tafuri and Robert Venturi to more pragmatic works of Jane Jacobs (1961) and James Holston (1989). Evidences are drawn from review of studies of the Swedish Million Homes programs of the 60’s and 70’s and from own ethnographic survey of the ongoing Grand Housing Program of Ethiopia. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
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URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-41662OAI: diva2:444711
World Planning Schools Congress. 4-8 july, 2011. Perth, Australia
QC 20110930Available from: 2011-09-29 Created: 2011-09-29 Last updated: 2011-09-30Bibliographically approved

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