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Lukasz Stanek: "The Emergence of the Urban Society? The Research of the Institut de Sociologie Urbaine (1962 – 1974)"

This paper interrogates the hypothesis of the “postfordist break” in urban development by focusing on the empirical research carried out by the Institut de Sociologie Urbaine (ISU) about the processes of urbanization in France in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The ISU was founded by Henri Lefebvre and several of his collaborators in 1962, and he was involved into its activities until his retirement in 1974. The research of the ISU focused on two symptomatic housing typologies of post-war France: the pavillon, or the suburban detached house, and the grands ensembles, or the housing estates. While the ISU investigated the ongoing transitions of spatial, economic, cultural, and technological conditions of urbanization as inscribed into the wider processes of post-war modernization, the work of the Institut marked a radical shift in the institutional, political, conceptual, and architectural approaches to the city in France. Most importantly, this research became an important source for Lefebvre’s theory of production of space and his argument about the emergence of the “urban society”. By focusing on the studies of the ISU, this paper investigates the shifts and continuities in the processes of urbanization of France in the late trente glorieuses, and historicizes the theoretical frameworks introduced at that time in order to address these processes.

About the Author

Lukasz Stanek graduated in architecture and philosophy after studies at the universities in Kraków (PL), Weimar (D), and Münster (D). He has collaborated with several architectural offices in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. After a research at the Faculties of Architecture at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (CH) and the Delft University of Technology (NL), he has recently defended the dissertation “Henri Lefebvre and the Concrete Research of Space: Urban Theory, Empirical Studies, Architecture Practice”. Currently, he is a researcher at the Chair for Architecture Theory TU Delft, and at the Department of Theory at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (NL). In summer 2008 he was a guest researcher at the Institut d’Urbanisme de Paris (F). His research interests in Henri Lefebvre straddle philosophy, planning, and architecture. He has published articles on city building, mass media, and the production of space in former state-socialist cities like Nowa Huta, Poland. Together with Tahl Kaminer he is the co-founder and editor of the first issue of Footprint - Delft School of Design Journal.
www.henrilefebvre.org

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