Theoretical Issues on the Socialist City and Reflections on Albanian Urban Landscape
Author: Eled Fagu
Affiliation: Polytechnic University of Tirana
The architecture and urbanism of the totalitarian regimes, despite the ideological shades that have been produced from different systems, in their core share similar principles which mainly derive from the use of the urban area as an expression of political propaganda. The socialist city was considered by the politics of that time as the greatest social achievement of the Marxist proletariat. It was the same unique place where the functions of residence, production, sport and recreation were mixed together, by also searching a strained unity that was supposed to dialogue more in a territorial scale rather than in a human one. Although there can be found some similarities with the Western industrial city, - like the idea of deurbanisation, - principally the new socialist city was created to generate the supporting mass based on the bynom ‘residence-production’. The decoration and the integration of the so-called ‘national style’ in the city architecture was considered more like a communication and a means of attraction for the new emergent citizenship, rather than as an integral part of architecture. Meanwhile, by that time in Western countries, the debate about the usage of styles and decorations had already been superated, while building tradition has been integrated and transformed in modern developments. Albania, as the last country to be part of the ex-socialist campus and also the last one that left it, basically manifests similar characteristics with it, however some sort of radicalization as a result of the historical and geopolitical causes can be noted..
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