CfP, CONF: COMMUNITY SPACES: CONCEPTION – APPROPRIATION – IDENTITY Network 45plus: Post-War Architecture in Europe. Darmstadt, Germany, 7.-8.09.12. Deadline: 22.04.12

Network 45plus: Post-War Architecture in Europe
Darmstadt, Germany, September 7-8, 2012.

Deadline: 22 April, 2012

Large housing estates of the post-war era have shaped the face of many
cities throughout Europe. In the original plans of the 1950s-1980s they
were to amend the urban structure and in many cases they were expected to
enable a superior form of communality and urbanity. The estates were built
to ease the housing shortage, but were also thought to quite literally
become the home for a “new society”, be it under socialist regimes or the
democratic welfare state. The reformation of society was linked to plans
for a constructed environment and was expected to be supported by the
environment of the estates and, most crucially, their community spaces.

By focusing on community spaces, such as community centers, schools,
churches, hospitals, shopping districts but also parks, open spaces and
sport-grounds, this 45plus conference addresses spaces that were thought to
be a particularly important points of identification for the “new
societies” these estates were expected to foster. Community spaces were
planned in order to hold the housing estates together – as well designed
and attractive built environments, as social hubs and especially as
symbolic anchors. Quite often, they boasted prominent design features,
intended to serve as recognisable markers of the estates and their
programmatic subtexts. While planners and politicians conceptualized
community spaces with their potential to shape identification in view,
communities tended to appropriate such spaces in different ways and to
reinterpret their meanings. In short, local inhabitants – as well as the
broader public – possibly identified with community spaces, their
individual features and with the ideas and practices they associated with
them in significantly different ways than originally intended. Today, the
continuing tension between intention and appropriation of community spaces
can be understood as an indicator of identification processes and appears
to be one of the major challenges in the redevelopment of large housing
estates, but might also provide unexpected opportunities.

For the conference we are seeking papers on community spaces in large-scale
housing estates of the 1950s-1980s that either explore the original
conceptualization or the subsequent appropriation in their relevance for
the development of and especially the identification with the estates. We
specifically encourage contributions that compare and contrast intended and
actual processes of identification and appropriation. As an
interdisciplinary endeavor, the conference aims to draw together
architectural analyses of individual buildings, public spaces, the
morphology of the estates and their urban design on the one hand and
research on the conception, the public perception, and the use of
individual features as well as complete ensembles of community spaces from
historical, sociological and political backgrounds on the other hand.

Proposals should be submitted to by April 22, 2012.
We will notify accepted paper-givers by May 6, 2012.

The organizing committee:
Maren Harnack, FH Frankfurt am Main
Sebastian Haumann, TU Darmstadt
Mario Tvrtkovic, TU Darmstadt
Tobias Michael Wolf, Landesamt für Denkmalpflege Hessen

Sebastian Haumann
Technische Universität Darmstadt