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Yugoslavian experience of public housing

   On August 11, 2021, the "Jacobin" website published an article by Anna Kates, entitled "In socialist Yugoslavia, collective housing is more than just an ugly apartment building." In the article, Kates commented on the collective housing construction in the period of socialist Yugoslavia.

  Since the end of the Cold War, the stereotypes of housing in the former socialist countries of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe have been rampant. People believe that the workers in these countries live in shabby and shabby houses, and they do not feel that the working class is in charge; or, in order to cope with the housing shortage, most of them The same prefabricated slab structure of the former Soviet Union "Khrushchev Building" was adopted. However, the actual situation is far from the case: during this period, the socialist camp was not only diverse in architectural styles, but it also showed the fact that the requirements for buildings that are both affordable and easy to replicate are flexible and flexible. , Creativity and a combination of personal expressed desires.

  In 1957, the Serbian Material Research Institute established by engineer Branco Zizeli developed a pre-stressed precast concrete column and slab system (later called the "Zizeli System") that was different from the Soviet prefabrication technology to deal with Belgrade after the end of World War II. There is a serious housing shortage problem, and the basic idea that drives the solution is low-cost and dignified public housing. The result is a carefully planned residential block presented to the residents: long and narrow pedestrian corridors, huge greenhouses of flowers and plants, elementary schools in every quarter of the community, etc.; people’s houses are also flexible and changeable. : Residential space can be modified and arranged according to the size of the family and the resident population, which in turn can help cultivate a certain "self-management" culture-as someone commented, people have a clear awareness of the psychological impact of the apartment : If you open the door, you should be able to see the window, otherwise you will feel bored. For this reason, in Belgrade back then, working-class budget apartments were often spacious and airy, with a wide view. Ironically, these features have now become exclusive to luxury residences. Another related feature is that the social/economic diversity of Belgrade neighborhoods was extremely rich at that time, university professors were likely to live next to workers, and class differences were also greatly eliminated in this housing solution.

  The "Zizeli system" can be prefabricated by hand or mass-produced, and its assembly process is relatively simple, which makes it suitable for a variety of architectural scenarios and is particularly favored by developing countries in the post-colonial world-according to statistics, " The Zizeli system has been widely used in socialist countries such as Cuba, Angola, the Philippines, Hungary, and Italy and in areas affected by socialism. More than 150,000 apartments have been established based on this law. For example, Angola, also a member of the "Non-Aligned Movement", was convinced of Yugoslavia's public housing problem solution and invited Yugoslav experts to Luanda, the capital of Angola, to build high-quality housing for the working class. However, due to many reasons, only a small part of the original grand plan was finally realized, and the desire for the welfare of the working class was not fulfilled. Today, Luanda’s city center is lined with luxury high-rise apartments, and in 2017 it was voted the most expensive city in the world. Looking back at Yugoslavia’s public housing efforts in the era of global capitalism, we can’t help but regret the reversal of history. .


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