Housing and City: Old Problems, New Approaches






Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


In the course of the 20th century, housing became a science due to the huge efforts of progressive architects and their great interest in addressing this issue that had been raised with major political impact by Engels in the first half of the 19th century. The concern of modernist architects with these new problems facing the population, prompted advanced designs that are still regarded as exemplary in the history of urbanistics. In the 1930s, housing complexes in Moscow, Berlin, Frankfurt and Rotterdam constituted role models for other cities. They even became banners of housing and a strategy of social innovation in Vienna, with Karl Ehn’s Karl-Marx-Hof, and in Amsterdam, with Michel de Klerk’s Het Schip. Housing design became something rational, almost like a science, and the CIAM (International Congresses of Modern Architecture) provided the framework of discussion for the functionalist vanguard that channeled this concern. However, the misuse of these models by commercial architecture and the scant adaptation of their proposals have turned this experience into something from the past that requires fresh consideration. In this respect, and in view of present-day society’s new paradigms, this article aims to cast some light on new approaches that can be introduced in response to the old problems existing between housing and city.

How to Cite

Busquets, J. (2014). Housing and City: Old Problems, New Approaches. Docomomo Journal, (51), 4–9. https://doi.org/10.52200/51.A.SBJOXT1A




Author Biography

Joan Busquets, Harvard University

Architect and urban planner. Professor at GSD Harvard since 2002 and before at Barcelona UPC-ETSAB. Founder of LUB Barcelona. Author of urban projects in The Hague, Delft, Geneva, Rotterdam, Toulouse, Toledo and Lisbon, among others around the world like Singapore, Shanghai, Ningbo and São Paulo. 2012 Paris Grand Prix Spécial de l’Urbanisme (France) and 2011 Erasmus Prize (The Netherlands).


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