- Cities of Choice: Elective Affinities and the Transformation of Western European Urbanity from the mid-1950s to the early 1980s
- Contemporary European History
- Volume | Issue number
- 24 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH)
This article discusses the meanings and effects of personal choice and elective affinities in Western European cities from the mid-1950s to the early 1980s. The first section shows how the notion of choosing one's surroundings and relations underpinned the development of ‘modern’ apartment buildings, suburban homes and road networks but also attracted significant criticism. The second section argues that this notion soon was not only criticised, but came under pressure by New Left activists, whose emphatically different elective affinities led them to create alternative spaces such as communal apartments and squatted houses. In so doing, they reinvigorated urban life, but also diluted their initial political project and triggered a conservative counter-reaction.
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