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This week, the topic is public housing, once again.
Housing crisis in Drabantia and its consequences
History class time! After Drabantia became a republic in November 1915, the political situation became a chaos. While the right wing parties were busy with the economical situation and cutting the already weak social security program, the leftists sat in the government patiently waiting for a chance to grab the power (they would also sometimes do fun legal actions, for example nationalize all the railways, but only so often no one would notice.)
So anyway, the economy grew rapidly. Drabantia became the industrial center of Central Uletha. But for the common people, things weren't going so well: about 20% of the population still lived in poverty in 1932. The wealth gap between the rich and the poor was growing massively, the very thin middle class began to disappear. The economy came to a grinding halt in 1939, which resulted in rise of unemployment and accompanying effects: growth of the far-right and far-left political parties, protests and a housing crisis.
The government obviously tried to tackle the situation, but without greater success. The working class, for whom it wasn't unusual to have a single shared bathroom used by 15 people, couldn't afford buying a new house. As a side effect, the rich moved out of the city centers into the new houses, leaving the centers in decline. Many people decided to build self-help houses - the government had no option but to overlook it.
In 1945, the police used force to scatter a peaceful demonstration on the International Labor Day in Odrava, which started a series of even larger protests all across the country, eventually resulting in the president being impeached and the Chamber of Deputies dismissed. In 1946, National Socialists won the election with 59% of votes, Bohdan Vlach was elected the prime minister and a recovery program for the economical and social situation was established.
If it wasn't for the 1950 election, in which they gained 'only' 48%, the NS would probably have abolished the Senate and established an oppressive one-party regime. What they did manage to do though, is pass some very hard economical reforms. The situation slowly started to improve. The state-led affordable housing projects solved the crisis (they also caused a reality market collapse, as the demand for privately owned property decreased.)
Boravská Louka is among the first post-1945 housing projects in Odrava.
The initial project was a really simple worker colony (Boravská Louka I, 1946-1947), but in the 1950s the government decided to experiment and built huge, colossal houses with large, spacious apartments, with a lot of green spaces everywhere and a central plaza with all the important institutions and shops. Boravská Louka became a small model neighborhood for other cities.
Even today, it's a very nice place to live.
So, what do you think of Boravská Louka? Next week, I'm going to draw another housing project, but this time from the 1970s.
They say there's two types of people: repulsed by communist architecture, or absolutely enchanted by it. Which one are you? Leave a comment below and I'll see you next week.
Comments are v appreciated
Sign and timestamp them if you wish.
My knowledge of communist architecture is pretty limited to a recent five-day holiday in Berlin and brief work-related trips to St Petersburg and Warsaw - (plus visits to Prague and Budapest, although I don't remember any communist architecture in either place really). So I can't say one way or the other. But your mapping looks pretty spot-on from your description of what you want to show. I'm looking to create some bleak apartment-block suburbs in Mynninghamn and Gråklosters myself that I would imagine would be similar to the worst kind of soviet-style architecture from the 50s and 60s. Any tips you have for that are welcome! --Demuth (talk) 14:44, 10 July 2017 (CEST)
Great mapping. As a guy who lived eighteen years in a building from 1948, I can really feel the spirit of the communist 50s here. Demuth, the worst of the worst communist architecture were buildings from 70s built from prefabricated giant concrete panels (they were thin, so in the flats were cold in winter until they started to be isolated using polystyrene in 90s), every polish civil engineer can tell that. That buildings were just large cubes with none architectural details, randomly placed in the vast plains of terrain. In previous times buildings were built mainly from bricks, which means they were much warmer. In addition the planning was more carefully. Typical neighborhood was sorrouded by local streets, near them were sidewalk and there was the squere made of blocks (with 2-4 floors), which formed isolated squere courtyard (something like ancient Roman atrium), which is pretty visible in Eklas work. On this atrium there were often placed public buildings like kindergardens, schools etc. Also some buildings from the 40s and 50s had nice architecture details, especially in more representative areas (see central Warsaw for egzamples). Ahm, and remember that all communist-projected neighborhoods were much more spacious and with lower density than current or older standards proposes. Rustem Pasha (talk) 15:34, 10 July 2017 (CEST)
- So I guess I should be aiming for 1970s then. I suspect 1970s was also a time when there was a lot of cheap and poorly built stuff going up in the U.S. and Western Europe as well. Any particular places to look at in OSM as a model? --Demuth (talk) 19:26, 10 July 2017 (CEST)
- Thanks for your comments guys! I'd say the 1980s were possibly even more decadent and the buildings - especially here in the CR - belong to the ugliest according to the public. I think this whole particular region is a great example of the 1970s communist program: if you take a look at Most, you'll find out it's completely artificial, the original old town - one of the most beautiful in Bohemia - was demolished because of coal mining, today there's a lake. --Eklas (talk) 19:59, 10 July 2017 (CEST)
- This fragment of Warsaw, Targówek (between railroad, Radzymińska, Trocka and św. Wincentego street) was built in 70s and it is all covered with ugly ~10 floors prefabricated buildings. Few years earlier there was just field. Rustem Pasha (talk) 20:41, 10 July 2017 (CEST)