Session SS32. Living in the Projects: Company Towns Imagined, Planned and Lived.
(from 19th to 21st century.)
Coordinators: Barbora Vacková (firstname.lastname@example.org), Agata Zysiak (email@example.com)
In his Spaces of Hope (2000) David Harvey explores the relationship between the space utopias, the effort of its materializing and the logic of urban planning. In our session we want to explore the similar relationship between the imagined company town and the lived reality of realized projects.
Company towns represented important urban structures in many places in Europe and all over the world. They were usually discursively framed as achievements of modernisation process and served as a part of modern management of population and space. They took different shapes, various forms of organization of production and politics, diverse levels of interconnection between the company powers and everyday life of its inhabitants, and their histories took manifold courses after companies lost their position in national or global economy. Modernity was embedded in the imagination of company towns in many ways, but most importantly in the ideas of urban planning and population governance. The actual realizations of plans in single or in sister towns built by companies were embedded in different local contexts including specific environmental, social or political conditions. The research on company towns is often represented by case studies of single city or area. The aim of our session is to bring together researchers dealing with the company towns in their complexity – we would like to discuss, compare and confront not only various ways how the company cities were imagined, planned and built, but also pay special attention to how they were lived and how the broader social and cultural contexts influenced inhabitants' experiences and daily practises. This leads us to the interest in specific governmentalities and in the various shapes of power relations.
Keywords: company towns; urban planning; architecture; lived experience