International Conference: Dialogue on Large Housing Estates – Experiences and Perspectives
Date: 23rd - 24th April 2021, Online

Docomomo International is pleased to share the invitation for the International Conference “Dialogue on Large Housing Estates – Experiences and Perspectives”, taking place online via Zoom on 23rd and 24th April 2021.

The Conference “Dialogue on Large Housing Estates: Experiences and Perspectives” is part of a Russian-Ukrainian-German research project. It will discuss the topic of living in large housing estates from an interdisciplinary perspective. A total of nine experts will speak during the event. Additional three young scientists will present their research, and during a poster-session project participants will give insights into their current research. The keynote by Dr. Sasha Tsenkova “A Place to Call Home: Reimaging Housing Estates and the Nexus of Planning and Policy” will focus on future of post-war housing estates and provides a compelling rationale for the need to mobilize economic and social capital to reinvent these places into vibrant neighborhoods. Furthermore the constructional-spatial and design aspects of large housing estates will be looked at here – that is, the supply of dwelling typologies and technical aspects – and the socio-cultural, economic, and instrumental aspects will also be taken into focus.

SESSION 1 / Economy and Stakeholders
Is the privatization a chance or a threat for the transformation process? How could the municipality contribute to a social balanced development? And who are the other stakeholders in charge of future developments of the settlements? The experts in this panel discuss the challenges and opportunities that unfold in the past 30 years as a result of privatization and changes in planning policies and instruments. They shed light on different case studies to investigate the transition both in different geographical context as well as through the eyes of the different actors. The role and responsibility of the new owners of land and housing is discussed as well as the challenges municipalities face in order to further the quality of life in the estates.

Ruta Matoniene, Deputy Director Urban Development Department Vilnius City Municipality
Knut Höller, Executive Member of the Board, Eastern Europe Housing Initiative (IWO), Berlin
Marianna Shkurko,  Alexander Mikhaylov, HSE University Graduate School of Urbanism, Moscow
Petro Vykhopen, Former Mayor City of Zhovkva

SESSION 2 / Housing Typologies and Urban Environment
What are the identifying features of the large housing estates? They consist of self-mirroring urban patterns, they are composed of a repetition of the same building, constructed of the same elements; but is this symphony of panels and slabs that once formed the endless carpet of the socialist large housing estate, crucial to keep and to maintain?
Large housing estates are vulnerable to capitalist urban environments, single family houses and renovated inner city apartments often pose a strong competition. Mass housing is one of the systems in which a lot of different actors with different perspectives are involved negotiating the constantly changing relevance of housing. One of the strongest assets of large settlements are their expansive, connected and public open spaces. As a result of societal changes many spaces were privatized, consequences of the resulting structural and functional changes as well as changes in identity shall be discussed during the session.

Prof. h.c. Dr.-Ing. Philip Meuser, Meuser Architects, Berlin
Prof. Daniel Baldwin Hess, School of Architecture and Planning, University at Buffalo
Daria Volkova, Institute for European Urban Studies (IfEU) at Bauhaus University Weimar
Yana Golubeva, Director at MLA+, St. Petersburg

SESSION 3 / Citizens and Neighborhood
At the latest after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, large housing estates quickly crystallized as a symbol of the failure of socialist policies. They were considered monotonous and depressing, the population was stigmatized and positive achievements were quickly forgotten.  As a result, for many people large settlements are almost the antithesis of home. For others the settlements are in fact the place they call home. Among others challenges sparked by these images are discussed and stereotypical prejudices are partly dismantle. Furthermore, case studies presented in this panel address the neighborhood attachment of inhabitants and the results of socio-spatial changes of the places are discussed. Also we  are trying to understand contemporary perspectives on innovations in post-World War II housing estates by looking on underlying principles of post-World War II housing estate. Built under a system of standardized construction, dwelling units often do not meet contemporary tastes. However underlying construction principles are reminiscent of contemporary notions of urban sustainability and may offer useful insights about revitalizing neighborhoods and districts.

Nilsson Samuelsson, Urban Planning Office, Municipality Dresden
Ekaterina Korableva, Elvira Gizatilluina, Center for Applied Research, European University, St. Petersburg
Tereza Hodúlová, Charles University, Faculty of Humanities, Prague
Prof. PhD. Virág Molnár, Department of Sociology, The New School for Social Research, New York

KEYNOTE / A Place to Call Home: Reimaging Housing Estates and the Nexus of Planning and Policy
Prof. Dr. Sasha Tsenkova, University of Calgary

The keynote focuses on the future of post-war housing estates and provides a compelling rationale for the need to mobilise economic and social capital  to reinvent these places into vibrant neighbourhoods. The issue is particularly critical for the post-socialist world of cities, where 53 million apartments in large housing estates are the home of 170 million people. These suburbs, planned according to modernist planning principles, were the flagship of socialist housing and planning policies.
The presentation looks at the transition challenges affecting the housing estates, it provides a compelling rationale for a more strategic investment in the housing estates and calls for policy and planning strategies to ensure quality of life, and finally, the presentation provides examples from successful neighbourhood improvement programs in different locations.

Participation is free of charge. For registration please write till April 17th to:
Subject line: Registration online conference CLHE 2021 at KIT
You will receive the link to the conference via mail.

More information can be found on the program: Flyer

And on the KIT event page: here or here.