EAUH Conference 2018


Session SS36. Hybridization of Knowledge and Transnational Urban Planning Expertise, Between and Within Europe, Americas and Colonial Countries (1900-1960)

Coordinators: Angelo Bertoni (, Josianne Francia Cerasoli (

This session aims to continue discussing the transnational urban planning expertise, a topic which was examined during the Helsinki EAUH Conference. We propose to introduce the concept of hybridisation, considered as a project intention and as a confrontation of different socio-economics and professional cultures. This concept is taken from architectural history and it may enhance the comprehension of Europe and Americas’ urban history between 1900 and 1960. Hybridisation covers in particular colonial and South-American contexts where the urban framework was, at that time, under construction.
The session will take forward this investigation and will be increasingly in line with a transnational history approach. The focus will be on the dialogue between the different actors and the transfer and exchange of the knowledge of urban planning. Papers dealing with the following topics will be considered:
- The expert figure. In these multiple contexts emerges a new figure: the expert. He was often an architect, trained in Europe and/or in the Americas, a member of international associations and a well-known practitioner. This actor was involved in various professional networks, both national and international: he based his practice on defining and adopting urban planning tools, in particular the plan. The expert was called by local governments, such as Henri Prost in Morocco or Donat-Alfred Agache in Rio de Janeiro, by private companies, Barrry Parker in Sao Paulo, or participated in international competitions, Werner Hegemann in Buenos Aires. The trajectories of some other experts remain to be explored.
- Representative experiences and projects. Colonial cities or countries characterised by intense urbanization are interesting laboratories for the implementation of urban planning principles. These experiences deal with urban cultures and the legacy of the past. They evoke the notion of hybridization and adaptation and the urban planning models and norms. An analysis of the case studies which were, at that time, considered representative should be carried out.
- Theoretical models. Many actors (professional, reformers, politicians) contributed to elaborate formal or practical models to control urban growth, to define the relation between town and country or to improve working class living conditions. National and international conferences and an increasingly rich literature assisted in gradually building theoretical knowledge of urban planning. Town planning reviews and journals demand a specific consideration.
Keywords: hybridization of knowledge; transnational expertise; urban planning; Europe; Americas; Colonial countries