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Den ekonomiska staden: Stadsplanering i Stockholm under senare hälften av 1800-talet
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History.
2002 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The Economic City :  Urban Planning in Stockholm During the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores the emergence and development of modern urban planning in Stockholm during the second half of the nineteenth century. Three structures are focused on. Firstly, the thesis typifies the discoursive structure of the questions and practices involved in urban planning, and illustrates how the social question emerged in this realm in the last decade of the century. Further, the thesis analyses this change by considering both the social composition of the municipal parliament and the economic and organisational structure of the society.

From the description and analysis appears the picture of a development, through which a modern form of urban planning with economically defined terms and aims took shape in interaction with a society dominated by the bourgeoisie and a municipality representing the bigger economic interests. The urban planning questions and practices were directed to offer infrastructural preconditions for the capitalist economic activity. Further, this goal was to be realised through economically defined and organised means. The municipality acted as an economic actor and managed the urban planning as a big business concerned with land, competing with private housing and property owners.

Nevertheless, the organisational structure of the society developed quickly away from the discoursive and municipal-representative structures. In particular, the emergence of the working class changed the organisation of the social life. This development could not be reflected in the social composition of the municipal parliament, which, as a public authority, should interact with the whole society, including the working class, as a collective actor. It was this paradoxical situation that resulted in the rise of the social question. Social reforms were actualised and the municipality began to intervene in the economy with social motivations. The goal was to integrate workers in the civil, or as it is called here, the economic society, i.e. the community of property owners with their monopoly on the municipal representation.

Acquiring their own home for their own family was outlined as the workers' way to achieve property and thus enter into the economic society. But the building boom of the 1880s and the following building crisis made this integration strategy impossible to realise. The main means of accomplishing the city plan with its economic goals was through land affairs, but the profitable municipal land business of the early 1880s resulted in a speculative land and property market, which collapsed in the beginning of the 1890s. Housing property lost it value and the housing production stopped. The crisis was not new in its kind, but it emphasised the limited potential of the economic society to integrate workers through the market.

Subsequently, the working class housing question was actualised as an acute question. The lack of property meant exclusion from the economic society, and this exclusion in the case of workers had always been described in moral and sanitary terms. These fears were now combined in a new way through a new social discourse, giving the working class housing question an explosive power. The question appeared as a threat against the whole economic society, and as a result the municipality should intervene to safeguard social life. Public intervention was emphasised as the solution of the working class housing question, especially at this time, when the old municipal land and urban planning policy and municipal land affairs were identified as the main reasons for the failure of the market.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Arkiv förlag , 2002. , 334, [1] s. p.
Arkiv avhandlingsserie, ISSN 0347-4909 ; 56
Keyword [en]
modern urban planning, economic discourse, public intervention, capitalism, civil society, municipality, social constructionism, working class housing question, self-help housing, home ownership, housing and property owners, economic sphere, politics, social question, urban history, Stockholm
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-19594ISBN: 91-7924-155-7OAI: diva2:186118
Public defence
2002-11-15, Hörsal 8, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2007-11-13 Created: 2007-11-13 Last updated: 2009-12-14Bibliographically approved

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Sheiban, Hossein
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