IXth International Conference on Urban History

August 27-30, 2008

Lyon France
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 Session description

Urban Planning and the Pursuit of Happiness (Renaissance-present)

The proposed session aims at a central, yet far too little explored subject in the history of cities and city planning: the promises for a better life implied in them, be they political, religious, social, technological or indeed suggesting personal happiness for individual citizens. Aspects of “vision”, “propaganda”, “marketing” are obviously vital for this topic, but so are ideas of social order and urban form.
It seems positively challenging to bring into communication research on different epochs (from the Renaissance to recent “New Urbanism” activities) and from several national backgrounds. “Pursuit” is deliberately chosen as an ambivalent notion: It can include the official reading (e.g. by states, city authorities, planners, architects or other professional groups) of what should constitute a happy life for imagined or real city dwellers as well as the latters’ actual appropriation of urban spaces and functions (with possible divergences from “official” intentions). Ideas of “happiness”, in turn, can take widely different forms, too: it is implied in a well-ordered, geometrical townscape in early modern times no less than in various urban experiments in the 20th century.
We would be particularly interested in the relations between urban design, architectural forms and functions and political messages.

Session conveners:

  • Arnold Bartetzky
  • Marc Schalenberg

Session type: Main

Classification: EM/M - Early Modern to Modern


Does urban life make farmers happy? The central settlements of collective farms in the Estonian SSR

Author(s): Kalm, Mart 

Happy living in a new socialist town. Construction, design and distribution of the apartments in Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia

Author(s): Kladnik, Ana 

Homeland protection (Heimatschutz) in Vienna around 1900 or The imagination of the city between preserving and reshaping

Author(s): Békési, Sándor 

Horizons nouveaux : représenter les pratiques idéales dans une cité moderne. Firminy-Vert 1959

Author(s): Clarisse, LAURAS 

Johann Peter Willebrand's "glueckselige Staedte":

Author(s): Bisping, Mascha 

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Liberalism and the image of the city in German planning theory around 1870

Author(s): Kamleithner, Christa 

The Happy Gardeners. Origins and Social Function of Allotment Gardens in Germany.

Author(s): Kershner, Sybille 

The changing pattern of urban form in relation to the perception of happiness in Georgian Birmingham.

Author(s): Aboutorabi, Mohsen ; Wesener, Andreas 

Visions of a New Warsaw after World War II

Author(s): Friedrich, Jacek 

‘A 365-days-a-year Holiday’ on the Outskirts of Rome. Urban Form, Lifestyles and the Pursuit of Happiness in the Suburb of Casalpalocco

Author(s): Bonomo, Bruno