In Search of the Social: Neighborhood and Community in Urban Planning in Europe and Beyond, 1920-1960

Stefan Couperus, Harm Kaal

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This introductory text presents the overarching question that informs the articles in this special section: How have notions of neighborhood and community determined urban planning discourse and practice in mid-twentieth century Europe? Against the backdrop of World Wars, crises and recovery schemes, aspirations to repair – or create – social cohesion among urban dwellers were manifest in the parlance and actions of a range of historical actors, many of which were at the heart of urban planning and reconstruction: architects, sociologists, administrators, planners and local officials. This special section covers different temporal and geographical contexts in Europe (and the US) to disentangle multilayered notions of ‘the social’ that have permeated neighborhood and community planning schemes. Moreover, taken together, the articles will show how persistent dichotomies in urban planning historiography, such as top-down versus bottom-up or organic versus mechanic, obscure historical understandings of how urban communities were conceived spatially, socially and politically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987-991
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Urban History
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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