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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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II.3 Dutch New Town Almere Haven: A Search for the Accommodation of the Suburban Wishes of the Middle-Classes in the 1970s

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← 190 | 191 →

MARIEKE VAN ROOIJ

(Eindhoven University of Technology)

II.3 Dutch New Town Almere Haven: A Search for the Accommodation of the Suburban Wishes of the Middle-Classes in the 1970s

Introduction

In historical studies on Dutch post-war architecture, much attention has been paid to the urban planning and architecture of social housing in the 1950s and 1960s, and the oeuvre of specific modernist architects1. Until now less attention has been paid to the middle-class residential architecture of the 1970s. This paper will focus on the planning and design process of the residential architecture of this period in the new towns, by means of the case study of Almere Haven.

In The Second Policy Document for Spatial Planning (1966), a planning document published by the Dutch government to control the suburban sprawl, the building of twelve new towns was announced. These ‘growth centres’, as they were called, would function to relieve the pressure on housing in the Randstad, the densely populated western part of the Netherlands. A key element of this strategic plan was that the green area in the middle of the Randstad would be kept free ← 191 | 192 → of building. A consequence of the plan was that it could provide in the strong wish of many Dutch people in the 1970s to live in a house with a garden2. Nozeman described the characteristics of the planning of these new towns as following: “The simultaneous realization of housing...

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