During the mid-twentieth century, a strong tendency toward state intervention in the urban built environment prevailed across northwestern Europe. This was channeled chiefly through the two linked mechanisms of city planning and social housing production. During the first three decades following World War II, dubbed les Trente Glorieuses in France, a modernist consensus favoring the opening out of congested cities, and the separating out of their different functions, was established. The most ubiquitous of these functions was mass housing, which in those decades was generally built according to modernist principles and mass-produced along “Fordist” lines. Individual nation-states and large cities drove these programs forward. Thus, far from being...

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