WEBINAR 3: Beyond commonplaces


In the month of October 2020, SoHoLab organized a series of webinars, aimed at contributing to new ways of approaching, planning and spatially imagining urban regeneration in large-scale social estates. With the webinars, we intended to disseminate the knowledge acquired during three years of research, entering in dialogue with similar practices, while addressing open questions and venues for further research.

Beyond commonplaces: Spatial transformations based on changing lifestyles and new imaginaries

In the period before and after World War 2, large-scale housing developments with towers and slabs in a green environment were an important spatial paradigm in social housing construction. This came to an abrupt end after the crisis in the early 1970s. The crisis and changing models of society paved the way for new spatial paradigms, in the form of smaller-scale or mixed housing developments. Due to their limited maintenance and technical and architectural quality, today, many large-scale social estates are facing renovation. Dismissing these renovations as beaten tracks would do injustice to careful architectural and urban design efforts for creating typological variety and morphological innovation, emphasizing scenic qualities, or improving energy performance and water storage capacity. Nevertheless, large-scale social estates remain subject to persistent social-spatial assumptions. Statements on public spaces that are difficult to ‘defend’ (Newman, 1972), or impossible to appropriate, a social mix that is ‘endangered’, a lacking ecological imperative, remain part and parcel in regeneration discourses.

In this third webinar we wanted to unpack these commonplaces, looking for new entries and outlooks, based on changing lifestyles and new imaginaries. You can find a link to the presentations below:

1. Transformation for better housing, Anne Lacaton (Lacaton & Vasal)
2. Peterbos 2029. Living in a Park, Inhabiting the City, Paola Vigano (Studio Paola Vigano, EPFL, IUAV)