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The Power of Past Greatness

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Urban Renewal of Historic Centres in European City Centres

Harald Bodenschatz/Max Welch Guerra (eds)

The redevelopment of historical centres became an important policy field in the era of European dictatorships following the First World War. At that time historical centres were regarded as shabby and as tarnishing the desired image of a magnificent new city, of a showcase of the dictatorship. This led to the widespread demolition of older buildings. Historical streets and squares disappeared and were replaced by new apartments and workplaces for the loyal middle classes, by car-friendly roads and ostentatious new buildings. Nevertheless, the redevelopment of historical centres did not exclusively mean the eradication of the ‘old town’. The aim of the dictatorship in many cases was also the preservation, and often the cultic display, of historical testimonials to past greatness.
The book presents examples of the redevelopment of historical centres in Mussolini’s Italy (Rome, Brescia, Bologna, Naples), in Stalin’s Soviet Union (Moscow), in Hitler’s Germany (Berlin), in Salazar’s Portugal (Lisbon, Évora, Óbidos) and in Franco’s Spain (Madrid, Toledo, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Santillana del Mar). These are followed by a brief summary of the history of the redevelopment of historical centres in Europe. This volume represents the very first attempt to identify the commonalities and differences in the redevelopment of historical centres in dictatorships in Europe in the first half of the 20th century.

240 x 300 mm
192 pages
250 pictures

ISBN 978-3-86922-205-9

Here you can find the blurb.

German edition/deutsche Ausgabe