Urban Political Podcast

When Social Housing was Big

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Post-war mass housing is at a crossroads in Western Europe. Demolition, densification, adaptation, or conservation? Two experts help us sort it out. Maren Harnack proposes what it requires to take advantage of the existing settlements from that period. And Miles Glendinning draws lessons of what we may learn from the experience of mass social housing construction from the 1950s to 1970s.

On October 11, Markus met our two guests at the conference „Adaptive Reuse! Strategies for Post-war Modernist Housing settlements“ at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences.

Guests: Maren Harnack is an architect, urban planner and professor for urban design at Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences. She studied architecture, urban design and social sciences in Stuttgart, Delft and London. In 2011, she published her PhD “Rückkehr der Wohnmaschinen. Sozialer Wohnungsbau und Gentrifizierung in London". In 2018, she and her colleagues founded the post-war housing research lab at Frankfurt UAS. Her research evolves around large scale housing in Western Europe.

Miles Glendinning is Director of the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies and Professor of Architectural Conservation at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He has published extensively on modernist and contemporary architecture and housing, and on Scottish historic architecture in general: his books include the award-winning Tower Block: Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (Yale UP, with Stefan Muthesius) and The Conservation Movement – a History of Architectural Preservation (Routledge). His current research is focused on the international history of mass housing, with a global overview book (Bloomsbury Academic Press) and an in-depth history of public housing in Hong Kong (Routledge) both in prospect.