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Title: Communal Housing: A Critical Review of Flemish Habitat
Authors: DE BLEECKERE, Sylvain 
GERARDS, Sebastiaan 
Issue Date: 2013
Source: MONU: Communal Urbanism (18), p. 64-69
Abstract: In contrast to other regions, Flanders has no historical communes such as the Kibbutzim in Israel, the pre-Soviet and Soviet communities, or the American ‘back-to-the-land’ ventures. Especially in comparison with Germany, where current society can look back on a reinterpretation of housing concepts since the actions of the Socialist German Student Union [Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund (SDS)] and their flagship Kommune 1, we must conclude that in Flanders communes are inexistent and that communal housing in general has a less extensive history. In this paper we take the developments in post-war Germany as a benchmark for a critical analysis of the phenomenon ‘communal housing’ in Flanders. Our main objective is to demonstrate the importance of a critical re-evaluation of forgotten communal housing in the past to develop new concepts of communal housing in a changing Flemish society. Inspired by the developments in Germany we study the unique tradition of béguinages, the widely spread phenomenon of generational housing in agrarian Flanders and some limited post-war developments. The context of our inquiry is legitimized by a fundamental need for new housing types in present Flanders. The nuclear family, once the cornerstone of society, disappeared. The family is no longer the main anthropological structure that determines the life of a person. Living alone became the norm and the current housing shortage and the singleness of the inhabitants became two major parameters in a rapidly changing Flemish society.
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ISSN: 1860-3211
Rights: BOARD Puplishers
Category: A2
Type: Journal Contribution
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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