OCT 08 / 11.30 am – 13.30 pm / BME K210


Dr. habil. Melinda BENKŐ PhD / Budapest, H
BME Department of Urban Planning and Design / mass housing research platformEuropean Middle Class Mass Housing

Dr. habil. David TICHÝ PhD / Prague, Cz
FA CTU Department of Building TheoryUNIT architekti Architectural Studio / Housing Estates What’s Next research platform

Prof. Richard Klein PhD, HDR / Lille, F
ENSAP Lilledocomomo Francedocomomo international 



Mass Housing Neighborhoods 

Throughout the world, mass housing was the answer to access decent living conditions after the Second World War and is still a used built answer to the housing shortage in many countries. Modern and contemporary theory and practice shaping these housing developments seem to be global, but the urban form, architectural characteristics, technical details, ownership system, space division, everyday life, etc. are varied locally. In post-socialist cities, most of the housing estates were publicly owned, centrally planned, built, and managed developments, but after the privatization process their conditions changed and they have a lower ability to integrate current housing requirements. Nevertheless, mass housing neighborhoods represent highly specific areas of cities demanding conceptual and thoughtful public policy decisions regarding their complex sustainability and livability.

Faced with their actual status, the housing needs, aspirations of the inhabitants, or the climate issues and the pandemic situation, what are the possible changes in this urban heritage? How not betray the social and egalitarian ideals which motivate the construction of these neighborhoods? And what challenges lie ahead for mass housing?

The abstract proposal should focus on a relevant theoretical sub-topic, as demolition / renewal, modern / contemporary, shrinking / growing, high-rise / low-rise, density / intensity, sustainability / livability, public / private, whole / part, planned / informal, monofunctional / multifunctional, etc. or/and show comparative study of key locations or/and one case study from a post-socialist city. Criteria for case studies are that at least one example presents post-war (after 1945) mass housing neighborhood from a post-socialist city, with. min 500 dwellings realized in min. two buildings realized for middle and/or lower class. The best knowledge of the types and forms of collective housing must go through all the data enabling these architectures to be characterized: sponsors, designers, companies, urban situations, and development projects, construction techniques, references and influences, receptions, transformations, and critical analysis of contemporary situations.



Maciej SWIDERSKI / Amsterdam Nl / Pl
Heritage-Inspired Local Knowledge as a Tool for Planning the Future of Late-Modernist Housing Estates

Over the past decade, post-socialist housing estates have been gradually accepted as part of the Eastern European urban heritage. Despite the seeming omnipresence of this recognition, its focus has been mostly one-sided and concentrated on the tangible manifestations of the past connected to the built environment of microrayons. The following paper proposes to integrate a more holistic approach – stemming from the current debates in the field of heritage studies – by looking at the pivotal role of the intangible values of such urban landscapes. What is the residents’ emotional connection to their concrete jungles? What memories do they share? How does it influence their collective image of the neighbourhood? Using Stobbelaar and Pedroli’s model of Landscape Identity Circle, I intend to demonstrate that the questions above should be considered crucial for the planning community to fully understand the complexity of these supposedly repetitive landscapes. Based on the ongoing research in Warsaw’s Ursynów neighbourhood, I will look at how mnemonic mapping can improve planning processes by opening new ways of expression for the locals.


Réka MÁNDOKI & Dr. John ORR / Cambridge UK / Hu
Learning from the Past – How to Create Sustainable Mass-Produced Buildings Today?

Mass produced buildings form a significant part of the post-socialist urban heritage as they have proven to be an efficient answer to the housing crisis after WWII. However, many of these buildings and neighbourhoods became obsolete quickly, causing a negative perception of industrialised housing. In contrast, today, in countries like the UK, the popularity of off-site manufactured and even modular buildings is rising, as their construction is quick, predictable, and clean compared to other solutions. This paper examines how the lessons learnt from historical examples could help ensure the sustainability of contemporary mass manufactured buildings. The study is supported by architectural examples and results from an online survey focusing on the required uniqueness of homes. Findings include that while people are negative about seeing completely identical buildings to theirs regularly, their attitude becomes neutral if materials and colours of the façade differ, and they are generally positive about the similarity of interiors. Such findings imply that significant changes can be achieved in the perceived value of mass-produced buildings even with low-cost, retrofitted solutions. Therefore, this study helps to understand both the ways to create sustainable mass manufactured buildings and the possibilities to preserve and renew the existing building stock.


Jitka MOLNÁROVÁ / Prague Cz
Bottom-up Transformations of Modernist Housing Estates

This article focuses on bottom-up spatial transformations of housing estates in post-socialist and developing countries. Based on the findings collected in over thirty housing estates, it is evident that ordinary citizens in economically and institutionally weaker countries recognize the same shortcomings of housing estates and address them through interventions with spatial characteristics similar to those known from western countries. The article describes a typology of fourteen of these interventions and explains the benefits they bring to the city. The aim of the article is to propose greater involvement of residents to the physical transformation of housing estates arguing that such involvement may result in more efficient processes with the benefit of creating tighter social bonds and a sense of community. It however also mentions the limits bottom-up transformation processes may have and planners and architects should be aware of.


Sofia BORUSHKINA / Milano, I / Ru
Top-Down Large-Scale Urban Interventions and Density Profile: The Housing Renovation program in Moscow

In 2017, the Moscow Government launched the Housing Renovation program, actually focusing on the demolition of existing houses and further construction of higher residential. As a post-socialist metropolis, Moscow still shows specific land use patterns: a positively sloped housing density profile. Being a top-down large-scale urban intervention, the Housing Renovation program decision-making resembles socialist urban development logic while representing a housing mega-project under contemporary limits to outright coercion. This paper discusses the effects of massive urban projects produced through top-down logic on a post-socialist metropolis through a case study of the Moscow Housing Renovation program. The paper investigates how residential mega-projects based on a top-down approach influence the spatial structure of the city. Using a quantitative approach, the research makes visible how the population density gradient changes as a result of urban development by decree in the contemporary post-socialist metropolis. The study finds that a top-down approach to housing problems shifts the driving force behind this density gradient from individual decisions to an authoritarian decision-making centre. It might result in strengthening the perverse population density gradient, typical for socialist cities urban structure.


Nikola MITROVIĆ & Dr. Aleksandra DJUKIC / Belgrade Sr
Mapping Informal Changes – New Meanings and New Patterns of Usage of Mega Blocks: Case Study New Belgrade

The focus of the research is informal change in the post-social mass housing. Informal change refers to usage of space or need, activity and movement of pedestrians, their intentions and walking targets. Walking becomes an important aspect of an individual’s life as a mode of transportation or leisure activity. The study area is mega blocks on New Belgrade – block 23 and block 30. There is a question, is the movement of users limited to the intra-block or inter-block, or wider zones of this part of the city. This paper aims to define the edge of the neighbourhood of opportunity and urban patterns in a post-socialist New Belgrade, by mapping informal changes focusing on walking routes and destinations and measuring walking distances. The presence of walking routes show that it is comfort space with elements of healthy urbanism, also new lifestyle and dynamics of using mega-blocks. To answer these questions, there will be used different methods: walking interview – experimental qualitative and quantitative method, online survey, unobtrusive observation and visual materials. The research reveals how informal changes as walking can be heritage in the community or because of a wide range of factors, absolute individual preference.


Munkh-Erdene TOGTOKHBAYAR & Dr. Tamás PERÉNYI / Budapest H / Mong
Post-Socialist Urban Housing Form: Changing Ger Districts in Ulaanbaatar

Post-socialist cities have experienced changes in socio-economy and urban policy after the collapse of socialism. This study focuses on the development process of the residential area named the ger district in Ulaanbaatar. Since the 90s, the fall of socialism in Mongolia, migration from rural to Ulaanbaatar has considerably occurred, and the ger district has experienced dramatic growth causing social and environmental issues. The ger district, referring to informal settlement, has scattered as urban sprawl since the 90s, but its spatial form starts from the 18th century in Ulaanbaatar. The main expectation of this study is the changes of physical elements in ger district in terms of its development stages. The study is based on the relevant literature and three case studies. There are four development stages of ger district: (1) the infancy ger district, (2) the consolidated ger district, (3) the maturity ger district, and (4) renewed ger district. Furthermore, the basic morphological elements shaping the ger district, namely ger (Mongolian yurt), plots or parcel (gazar), fence (hashaa), street (gudamj), and small building, will be explored based on the mapping from remote sensing data set. This study compares three case studies from different urban locations in Ulaanbaatar and focuses on the small urban scale as 500m x 500m viewport.


in the online+ session / OCT 09 9.00 am

Antonio NEVESCANIN / Lodz Pl / Hr
Urban Regeneration of The Socialist Modernist Housing Neighbourhoods in Lodz, Poland and Zagreb, Croatia

The paper focuses on living conditions nowadays in post-war mass housing neighbourhoods, in Poland and Croatia, primarily on examples of cities Lodz and Zagreb. Urban regeneration has become one of the main urban planning and urban development strategies in the 21st century, especially in the post-socialist countries. As all post-socialist countries reached the independence at the late 20th century, process of urban regeneration which had already affected the Western countries was delayed in countries with transition economy, such as Poland and Croatia. While contemporary urban regeneration practices are mainly applied to either historical city centres and post-industrial brownfield areas, modernist mass housing neighbourhoods are left out, while all urban changes are spontaneous and coincidental. The urban regeneration is defined as groups of actions which are taken to solve variety of urban problems, economic, social, and environmental in the area where any sort of degradation occurs, which poses the question why these neighbourhoods aren’t subjected to change also, as they experience variety of the urban problems. Paper explores the possibility of improving the living conditions in the modernist neighbourhoods, understanding that some of the objects should be protected and preserved as the part of architectural heritage.