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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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Editors’ Note


This book was conceived and realized within the research project “Architectures for the Middle-Class in Italy, 1950s–1970s”, funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research through the “Firb-Future in Research” programme. This research project was carried out during the period 2011–2014 by three units, based in the Politecnico di Torino, Politecnico di Milano and La Sapienza Università di Roma. Special thanks go – first – to all the colleagues and friends involved directly and indirectly in this adventure.

Several of the essays collected in this book were originally presented at the symposium “Middle-Class Housing in Perspective. From Post-war Construction to the Post-millennial Urban Landscape”, held at the Politecnico di Milano in November 2012. We would like to thank all the members of the scientific committee who worked with us in the organization of the event – Bruno Bonomo, Alessandro De Magistris, Filippo De Pieri, Monique Eleb, Maria Auxiliadora Galvez, Juan Herreros and Giovanni Semi – and all the participants in the symposium, for making it such a fruitful occasion for discussion and exchange.

Others materials collected in the book were first presented at international meetings and talks in which we took part, such as the seminar cycle “Dal miracolo alla crisi”, held at the Politecnico di Milano in 2014, the 15th International Planning History Society conference held in São Paulo 2012, the PhD Seminar “New Histories of Domestic Spaces” held at the Politecnico di Torino in 2012, the Study Centre presentation programme at...

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