The city and the suburban village
in Reconstructing modernity
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This chapter is concerned with the ways in which functional models of community and sociability were being framed spatially in post-war Britain, focusing on the design and provision of housing on post-war housing estates like Manchester’s famous Wythenshawe estate as well as on Hull’s less famous examples. It argues that concerns about the nature of society were bound up in the designs and promotion of new housing schemes. The study of housing and community design functions as a lens through which historiographical concerns about modernity, consumerism and town planning might be analysed. The chapter examines the design of shopping centres to shed light upon the mechanisms of sociability and interaction that were being programmed into the design of housing, concluding that a combination of consumer habits, retailer opposition and planning naivety worked to reduce the effectiveness of the plans in producing functional estates.

Reconstructing modernity

Space, power and governance in mid-twentieth century British cities

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