This article examines theories of human territoriality and their historical role in the demise of public housing in Western Europe and North America between the 1960s and the 1980s. The neglect and privatization of the public housing stock and the withdrawal of the state in direct provision in this period are often subsumed under the category of neoliberalism. This article unpacks this narrative by focusing on the intersection between architecture and social science. It argues that the neoliberalization of housing not only constitutes a transformation of housing economics, from public to private funding, or design, from highrise blocks in large estates to semidetached or detached individual dwellings; it also constitutes an epistemological turn, which revolves around the shift from “habitat” to “human territoriality.”
Human Territoriality and the Downfall of Public Housing
Kenny Cupers is an associate professor in the history and theory of architecture and urbanism at the University of Basel. He is the author of The Social Project: Housing Postwar France (2014), editor of Use Matters: An Alternative History of Architecture (2013), and coauthor of Spaces of Uncertainty (2002).
Kenny Cupers; Human Territoriality and the Downfall of Public Housing. Public Culture 1 January 2017; 29 (1 (81)): 165–190. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-3644445
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