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Urban design and dictatorship in the 20th century: Italy, Portugal, the Soviet Union, Spain and Germany. History and Historiography

Conference Publication

Piero Sassi, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar,

For decades in Germany, historical research on dictatorial urban design in the first half of the 20th century focused on the National Socialist period. Studies on the urban design practices of other dictatorships remained an exception. This has changed. Meanwhile, the urban production practices of the Mussolini, Stalin, Salazar, Hitler and Franco dictatorships have become the subject of comprehensive research projects. Recently, a research group that studies dictatorial urban design in 20th century Europe has emerged at the Bauhaus-Institut für Geschichte und Theorie der Architektur und der Planung. The group is already able to refer to various research results.

Part of the research group’s self-conception is the assumption that the urban design practices of the named dictatorships can only be properly understood from a European perspective. The dictatorships influenced one another substantially. Furthermore, the specificities of the practices of each dictatorship can only be discerned if one can compare them to those of the other dictatorships. This approach requires strict adherence to the research methods of planning history and urban design theory. Meanwhile, these methods must be opened to include those of general historical studies.

With this symposium, the research group aimed to further qualify this European perspective. The aim was to pursue an inventory of the various national historiographies on the topic of “urban design and dictatorship”. This inventory should offer an overview on the general national level of historical research on urban design as well as on the level of particular urban design projects, persons or topics.

The symposium took place in Weimar, November 21-22, 2013. It was organized by Harald Bodenschatz, Piero Sassi and Max Welch Guerra and funded by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service).

About the Internationality of Urbanism: The Influence of International Town Planning Ideas upon Marcello Piacentini’s Work
Christine Beese
Kunsthistorisches Institut – Freie Universität Berlin – Germany

Landscape and City during Fascism: Enrico del Debbio’s Foro Mussolini
Maria Luisa Neri
Università di Camerino – Scuola di Architettura e Design – Ascoli Piceno – Italy

Planning the Industrialization. The Technical and Theoretical Toolbox for the Post-War Program for the Industrial Development Areas of Southern Italy
Nicla Dattomo
Università Iuav di Venezia – Italy

Restelo Neighbourhood: Expanding the Capital of the Empire with the First Portuguese Urban Planner
Patrícia Bento d’Almeida
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa – Portugal

Portuguese Social Housing under Dictatorship. A Morphological Analysis of Some Residential Agglomerations in Lisbon (1933-1950)
Maria Amélia Cabrita
Architecture – ISCTE, Lisbon, Portugal

Restelo in Lisbon – The Non-implementation of the Original Urban Design by Faria da Costa during the Dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar
Salete A. F. Cravo
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa – Portugal

Granite on the Ground: Former Nazi Party Rally Grounds, Nuremberg/Germany. A brief introduction
Marie Luise Birkholz
Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany

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