Here are a few images from a recent visit to Seda, a small town in Northern Latvia (current population 1,700). Built amid swampland, the town was established in the 1950s to house workers of a nearby peat extraction plant. The town is dominated by a formal geometric street pattern lined with 1950s-style apartment buildings in the Stalinist style, as well as 1960s- and 1970s-era Soviet-style apartment buildings.
Revisiting the role of architects in planning large-scale housing in the USSR: the birth of socialist residential districts in Tallinn, Estonia, 1957–1979 (2017).
In Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, housing estates are often associated with inhumane architecture and unwelcoming public space, an outcome that can be attributed to strict design requirements in a rigid centralized system. Due to the uniformity of residential housing produced during socialist times, both the design process and its master – the architect – are believed to have played only minor roles in shaping townscapes. This study, situated in the large housing estates of Tallinn, Estonia, challenges these assumptions using analyses of archival material (relating to planning procedures during state socialism) and articles in specialized magazines. Continue reading New publication in Planning Perspectives