CFP: "Worker Housing and the Shaping of the 20th Century City" (Helsinki, 24 – 27 August 2016)

Call for papers –  “Worker Housing and the Shaping of the 20th Century City”

European Association for Urban History

13th International Conference on Urban History
August 24-27, 2016
Helsinki, Finland
Deadline to submit abstracts: October 31, 2015

Session organisers: Gaia Caramellino (Politecnico di Torino, Italy) & Yael Allweil (Technion IIT, Israel)
This session is interested in housing programs for employees (in the broadest definition, including multiple social groups) and the shaping of the 20th century city. Often understood in the scholarship as mutually exclusive problems, worker housing and the city have during the 20th century been highly inter-related modes of planning and design. Examining diverse disciplinary perspectives (urban history, architecture history, planning, social, institutional and economic history) this session will explore attempts to shape, mold and educate the public-as-worker via housing, and the effects of this enterprise on the city.

Since the ‘Age of the Revolutions,’ visionaries, professionals, private corporations and public institutions made attempts to shape the house as element of distinction and self-representation, as well as of education, applied to worker everyday domesticity via design of settlements, housing units, dwellings, communal spaces and facilities, furniture and interior design. These programs had immense impact beyond worker apartments and residential complexes, affecting the very idea of planned settlements, and shaping theories and programs for city planning. Residential programs and policies inaugurated for worker housing became key site for experimentation with planning models, settlement layouts, hosing codes and standards, building types, apartments layouts, model furniture, building techniques and spatial coding of ‘proper’ habitats for diverse groups of workers. Often mirroring companies’ strategies of self-representation, lifestyles and social models, used in an instrumental way to promote modes of life and to eliminate social differences, to encourage forms of social identification, in the attempt to forge corporate identity. Improvements to tenements of the industrial city, garden cities and the very idea of planned environments for workers, and company towns based on production and consumption had central role in the processes of construction and transformation of the 20th century city, influencing the forms, chronology and geographies of the urban development. These residential programs thereby introduce workers and promoters as agents in continuous negotiations over the 20th century city.

We invite papers exploring worker housing and the city in different geographical, political and social contexts, using diverse design perspectives and adopting scales of observation ranging from planning schemes and policies, to residential programs, housing models and settlements layouts, the building and the domestic space. Papers are invited to address a plurality of concerns such as the definition of planning, housing and social models, looking also at the places of their elaboration and dissemination.

Submit paper proposals online, via the EAUH2016 website
Abstracts of paper proposals should not exceed 300 words.
Deadline for paper proposals submission: October 31, 2015.

Notification of paper acceptance: December 15, 2015

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