Accepted paper:

Collaborative planning and co-housing: materializations and practices of solidarity between utopia and everyday life


Ana Rogojanu (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

Taking Viennese co-housing projects from the 1980ies as an example, the paper discusses how utopias of solidarity are materialized in a building and how they are transformed over time by means of material interventions and everyday practices.

Paper long abstract:

Compared to Germany, the Netherlands and other Northern European countries, Austria does not have a strong tradition of collaborative planning and co-housing projects. However, a number of such initiatives were realized in the 1980s and the early 1990s, trying to develop alternative models of dwelling and new forms of community as a critical reaction to the increasing individualization of households. Taking two of the most influential projects from this period as an example, the paper first analyses how different utopias of solidarity, one evolving from a religious background, the other from a rather left-wing movement, materialized into concrete buildings that were specifically designed to accommodate a certain form of social life. Specific architectural features that will be discussed are, for example, the thresholds between private and shared areas. Having considered these, I will further elaborate on how the ideals of co-habitation have transformed over the past twenty years and on how this is reflected in the material appropriation of the dwelling environment, for example through the implementation of visual barriers as a means of delimiting one`s private sphere, as well as in day-to-day practices such as closing and locking doors.

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Ethnographies of the house, values and manners of inhabit