Navigating between Improvement and Habitation: Countermovements in Housing and Urban Infrastructure in Vienna

Publication: Chapter in book/Conference proceedingChapter in edited volume


This article investigates the history of housing and urban infrastructure in Vienna by analysing the dialectics between improvement and habitation. It will discuss countermovements seeking for habitation in five historical periods: an anti-liberal countermovement (Vienna before 1918), a social-democratic countermovement (Red Vienna, 1919-1934), fascist countermovements (1934-1945), the institutionalisation of the social-democratic countermovement (1945-1989), and its erosion (1989 onwards). This historical analysis demonstrates the ambivalence of anti-market countermovements, as they are not unconditionally promoting holistic forms of social cohesion, peaceful communal life, and emancipation. Improvement is not always destructive and habitation not always unifying. Their outcomes depend on their specific form of implementation and framing. The article ends with a reflection on how to navigate between improvement and habitation today.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCapitalism in Transformation. Movements and Countermovements in the 21st Century
Editors R. Atzmüller, B. Aulenbacher, U. Brand, F. Décieux, K. Fischer, B. Sauer
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Pages228 - 245
ISBN (Print)978 1 78897 423 3
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 507021 Urban history
  • 502027 Political economy
  • 502049 Economic history
  • 504030 Economic sociology
  • 507019 Urban development planning
  • 507
  • 509

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