Sebastian Haumann (UAntwerpen) and Valentina Fava (Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia)
Deindustrialization, Experience, Heritage
In the former industrial centers of Europe, deindustrialization was, on the one hand, experienced as loss and rupture in everyday life. On the other hand, the emergence of industrial heritage as a strategy to reinvigorate cities and communities has arguably mitigated decline. However, we know very little about the everyday experience of deindustrialization, the lasting anxiety it caused to both individuals and communities and the ability of industrial heritage to adequately include diverse and at times ambivalent local experiences.
This session brings together papers that take on the challenge to reconstruct the experience and vernacular interpretations of deindustrialization in European cities from a micro studies-perspective. The papers reflect on diverse methodological approaches that address the relation between past experiences and their reinterpretation in historical research and heritage making. The aim of the session is to study how individuals perceived and made sense of social and economic transformations and discuss possibilities to reconstruct these histories. Considering these aims, papers address one or more of the following key questions:
- Chronology of experiences: When did urban communities go through the experience of structural change, especially in regard to the time-lag between West and East Europe? How does the temporal distance to the original experience affect the current perception of one’s own place in the past processes of deindustrialization?
- Diversity of experiences: did different social groups (workers, migrants, etc.) experience and interpret structural change differently? How did post socialist transformation alter the perceptions of deindustrialization? Did these differences aggravate polarization and feed into the construction of divergent identities that are now often exploited by populists?
- Locus of experiences: were loss and ruptures in everyday life experienced as an individual, as a family, or as a community? How did the locus of experience translate into new patterns of social relations, such as gender roles, intergenerational relationships or community organization?
- Judgment of experiences: is it appropriate to vest the history of deindustrialization in narratives of decline? Are histories of everyday life in deindustrializing cities also histories of success and pride of making do under adverse economic and social conditions?
Can the Resilience of the Workers' Micro-Community Overcome the Consequences of their Factory Ruination? The Case of Housing Block "Experiment-57
Ana Grgic (University of Split)
Deindustrialization, Housing, Urban Planning
The cities of the post-war socialist Yugoslavia greatly owe their urban development to the industrialisation as the dominant economic driver whose growth depended on the opportune demographic measure of massive rural exodus from the hinterland and islands. In the area of industrialised Kaštela Bay, the symbiosis of two achievements of modernisation - industrialisation and urbanisation is being created in the erratic manner of spatial zoning - the growing city on the Split peninsula looks upon its new plants rising on the other side of the bay. One of them is the PVC factory Jugovinil, across the apartment house Experiment 57, newly built for its workers - designed and named by architect Vuko Bombardelli. Creation of the specific micro-community was built upon the pre-modern inheritance of the families who occupied it, as well as upon the distinct architectural typology of the block - "laboratory" flats and common entrance galleries. Egalitarian social housing allocation policies resulted in diverse mixture of people with different educational and professional backgrounds and positions within the factory "mechanism". Despite the expected matrix of modern life - devaluation of public space, self-sufficiency of fully equipped apartments and organised social services, all of which assume the anonymity of urban life, the E-57 block synthesized a surprisingly picturesque community. In the context of the political shift, deindustrialization and deterioration of the urban, this micro-community actually became the reliance for its members, a sort of providence after bitter individual and collective drama of Jugovinil ruination. The industry became considered as the prodigy of communism instead of progress and therefore easy to let go. Trusted functionality of work place accompanied with modernisation achievements of personal education, specialization and a sense of usefulness got replaced by the new post-transitional economic offer - tourism, to be planted on former industry waste-land but deprived of many of its positive attributes. However, in a prodigious capillary manner, touristic gentrification attacks even the modern housing blocks. Consequently, blue apartment signs can be seen even on the entrance facade of E-57, indicating another change facing the resilient feature of the house and its community.
Documentary Photography and 'Visibility' of Urban Life in Ireland. Documentary Photography and Deindustrialization in Dublin, 1979 – 1991
Erika Hanna (University of Bristol)
Deindustrialization, Photography, Experience
This paper uses the output of two documentary photographers -- Tony O'Shea and Derek Speirs -- to make sense of the lived experience of deindustrialization during a period of structural change in Irish cities. During the 1980s, both these photographers used their cameras to record how Dubin was changing and the responses of people to these changes. The city they caught in their lenses recorded not only derelict sites, boarded up factories, but also protests, poverty, and homelessness. Moreover, by examining where they pointed their camera and where they published their images, we can get a sense of how deindustrialization was interpreted and understood both by those who lived in these neighbourhoods and those who observed these changes from afar.
During the 1980s there was a perception that the lived experience of those enduring poverty and worklessness in Ireland’s urban centres were ‘invisible’ in the media and stories being told about the nation. However, by examining these photographs, and moreover, by considering them as objects which move through space and society, we can think harder about what this means, conceptualizing this ‘invisibility’ not just as a metaphor but as an embodied act which began with the way that people looked and looked away on the streets of the city.
The Breaking Point. Transition of the 1990s and the end of the Industrial Era in Praga District in Warsaw
Katarzyna Sadowy (The Warsaw Branch of the Association of Polish Architects / OW SARP, SGH Warsaw School of Economics)
Industrial Heritage, Local Economy, Transition
The presentation will focus on the heritage Praga district in Warsaw, developed on the basis of industry and in the last 30 years losing this character. The Polish transition initiated in 1989 caused a profound change not only of a political and institutional nature, but also an economic change of local labour markets and urban space. The public investment of the metro line, which, eventually, created a strong connection between both banks of the Vistula river, gave even more force to the transformation of Praga into a “consumerist city” area. The case study illustrating the problems and potential of the district will be former Bakery, operating from 1900 till early 2000.
The heritage of Praga district is at the same time very valuable and easy to neglect. What makes it especially precious is its rare authenticity, in the city which was largely destroyed during the WWII and underwent the profound transformation first during the centrally-planned state and then during the transition of the 1990s. During all this time Praga remained less changed than the rest of the city. It is also an area of a rich variety of spaces and stakeholders, including municipality, enterprises (both of local, country and international level), free-lancers and NGOs.
The future of a large part of the district has been already decided, as several post-industrial sites were adapted for new uses, mostly residential and commercial. Still, some unused or underused sites and spaces still create the potential for more thoughtful re-use, focused both more on the past and on the future than the one currently happening. On one hand there is a new budding discussion about the heritage and its intangible aspects which might lead to the more heritage-oriented solutions, going beyond the conservation of the buildings. On the other hand, till now, the re-use and transition into a more modern urban environment hardly provided any green solutions (nature-based or circular). There is still a potential to create stronger local identity and at the same time to support an urban resilient and responsibly built environment. The presentation will discuss some specific propositions resulting from the Cooperative Heritage Lab (PragaLAB) in Warsaw, one of the six labs of the OpenHeritage project.