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Title: Critique of the Communal Housing Tradition in Flanders
Authors: GERARDS, Sebastiaan 
Issue Date: 2014
Source: 25th Joint Doctoral Seminar on Theory and History of Architecture, Liège - Belgium, 22/05/2014
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. With this poster the author takes the developments in post-war Germany as a benchmark for a critical analysis of the phenomenon ‘communal housing’ in Flanders. 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 the author studies the unique tradition of béguinages, the widely spread phenomenon of generational housing in agrarian Flanders and some limited post-war developments. The context of this study 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. Inspired by the developments in post-war in Germany, the author analyzes how the limited history of communal housing in Flanders, with the previously mentioned traditions, can inspire the development of new communal housing concepts for a changing Flemish society.
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Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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