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Post-War Middle-Class Housing

Models, Construction and Change

Edited By Gaia Caramellino and Federico Zanfi

Post-war middle-class housing played a key role in constructing and transforming the cities of Europe and America, deeply impacting today’s urban landscape. And yet, this stock has been underrepresented in a literature mostly focused on public housing and the work of a few master architects.
This book is the first attempt to explore such housing from an international perspective. It provides a comparative insight into the processes of construction, occupation and transformation of residential architecture built for the middle-classes in 12 different countries between the 1950s and 1970s. It investigates the role of models, actors and policies that shaped the middle-class city, tracing geographies, chronologies and forms of development that often cross national frontiers.
This study is particularly relevant today within the context of «fragilization» which affects the middle-classes, challenging, as it does, the urban role played by this residential heritage in the light of technological obsolescence, trends in patterns of homeownership, as well as social and generational changes.
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I.2 The ‘Residential Park’ as a New Model for the Emerging Middle-Class in Naples During the 1950s


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(Seconda Università di Napoli)

I.2 The ‘Residential Park’ as a New Model for the Emerging Middle-Class in Naples During the 1950s

While chatting with the Neapolitan photographer Mimmo Jodice a few years ago, we were struck by an observation he made regarding the relationship between the residents of Naples and the home during the period after the Second World War. When referring to the new apartment homes that were springing up like mushrooms along the slopes of the city, Jodice described the excitement at having your own bathroom and kitchen inside the house, but especially the opportunity of owning your personal balcony that looked out over the sea and the Gulf of Naples.

The economic boom and widespread access to an unprecedented form of affluence through the home, made it possible for thousands of Neapolitans to enjoy personal and exclusive access to one of the greatest panoramic and visual resources of the city.

The balcony is the perfect expression of the private and personal apportionment of an emotion and social victory. It also represents one of the phenomena of exclusivity and privatisation characterising the Italian city during the economic boom and building explosion1.

Italy in the twenty years between the first half of the 1950s and the 1960s was marked by such a dense and contradictory range of social, cultural and economic phenomena, that it would be very difficult to...

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