The space of everyday life
in Reconstructing modernity
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Building on the conclusions and individual agency highlighted in the last chapter, this chapter uses examples of the clashes between local government and inhabitants on the social housing estates of Manchester and Hull to show how the practices of everyday life could subvert and challenge the spatial practices of urban governance, shedding light on the lived experience and agency of the inhabitants of mid-twentieth-century social housing. Expectations about how certain spaces should function, what it was appropriate to do in them and the beneficial outcomes they were supposed to produce meant mapping certain expectations about how societies and individuals interacted onto places like parks, grass verges or community centres. Corporations’ and planners’ perceptions of how space should function is thus used here to demonstrate how spatial policies evidenced governmental anxieties over working-class association, concerns about suburban anomie and a growing disquiet about youth and delinquency.

Reconstructing modernity

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

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