Urban Living in Modern Cities.

Urban Living in Modern Cities.

Historisches Seminar, Universitaet Hannover
Vom - Bis
31.08.2000 - 02.09.2000
Saldern, Adelheid von

Call for papers

for one of the main sessions at the 5th International Conference on Urban History

Aug. 31 - Sept. 2, 2000
Helen Meller / Adelheid von Saldern

Urban Living in Modern Cities.

Educational Ideas and Practices, Public and Private Strategies (1880-1960)

The session will focus on the period 1880-1960 when the idea of constructing modern urban life and the modern urban dweller was considered to be a major challenge in all European countries. In this period, there was a great acceleration in the process of urbanisation. Migrants experienced a clash of cultures as they struggled to adapt to urban conditions. For those born in cities, however, there were also substantial changes. Technology and new methods of communication were breaking down the barriers of space and time. The practices of city living had to be negotiated, adapted and reworked by social groups and individuals in the public and the private sphere. This was a process that required consent. Many individuals and professions as well as local authorities had a vested interest in modernising the urban fabric and the urban social body through a wide range of educational activities and regulations. Even the `private sphere´ of a home was hardly private, rather it was the site of contesting ideologies of the family and modern life. Age, class, ethnic and gender relations intersected with this process. There were many alternative ways of learning how to live in a city, for example, through family networks, friends and contacts. New professionals concerned with planning and education tackled the challenge with considerable confidence but it remains a central and open question as to how far they were successful. Papers of this session will be grouped around three themes:

1. The social consequences of technology and scientific innovation in an urban context: their impact on ideas, representations and perceptions of the urban environment and urban living.

New technological inventions, e.g. plumbing, cars and electricity, required a change of habits both, in the home and on the street. New scientific knowledge and a new understanding of public health led to new regulations and generated networks of concerned individuals, public and private groups committed to changing cultural norms. New methods of mass production of consumer items such as furniture led to new choices in taste and alternative aesthetic norms

2. The educational and planning process which tried to create new norms of modern urban living.

There were many methods of disseminating information about city living and encouraging people to change from the great variety of exhibitions and museums, such as the museum of hygiene in Dresden, to the plans to improve the behaviour of tenants pioneered by Octavia Hill in London. There was the evolution of what was considered necessary for inhabitants of city suburbs, such as parks and open spaces (especially for children) which included regulations for social behaviour. There was also the major developments in creating the Modern home based on a new functionalism and definition of health. The new housing estates in Frankfurt, the spirit of the modern movement in architecture given form in the Charter of Athens (1933) were important. So too, were developments in the media, magazines, broadcasting, advertising, films etc. which portrayed new ways of living.

3. Popular responses of different social groups which mostly ranged somewhere between adaption, appropriation and rejection.

People dealt with the various forms of education in their own way. Thus, we have to look very carefully to their often contradictory responses and also to differentiate between gender, class, age, and ethnic and finally between short- and long-term impacts.

Please send a one-page outline before October 1, 1999 to
Prof. Dr. Adelheid von Saldern
Historisches Seminar
Im Moore 21
30167 Hannover
email: asalder@gwdg.de



Prof. Dr. Adelheid von Saldern
Historisches Seminar
Im Moore 21
30167 Hannover
email: asalder@gwdg.de

Veröffentlicht am
Weitere Informationen
Land Veranstaltung
Sprach(en) der Veranstaltung
Sprache der Ankündigung