Building democracy anew: Neighborhood planning and political reform in post-blitz Rotterdam

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This article interrogates the political semantics of neighborhood planning during and after the Second World War. It argues that as much as a geographical substrate for social and spatial planning, the neighborhood was an organizing principle in agendas of urban political reform in the 1940s and 1950s. Taking the case of Rotterdam, a severely bombed city that suffered from warfare in many respects, this article discloses the languages of political reform that informed an agenda of revitalizing urban democracy within the framework of the neighborhood. Two intertwined trajectories, encompassing public and private initiatives to institutionalize modes of neighborhood politics and democracy, will show how notions of democratic citizenship and the post-war institutional design of urban governance became irreconcilable in Rotterdam, but had a lasting impact on twentieth-century urbanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)992-1008
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Urban History
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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