Good and Bad Concrete

29 October 2019
On October 29, 2019, at 4 pm, we invite you to the Urban Seminar by Anastasiya Halauniova "Good and Bad Concrete: Fugitive Modern and Aesthetics of Renovation in Poland".

The question of aesthetic appreciations and political imaginations that buildings "hold together" will be explored through the case study of the renovation of socialist housing estate ‘Wroclaw Manhattan’ built in 1972-74. The seminar addresses the question of valuation of "good" and "bad" quality of materials in contemporary urban governance. It argues
that "quality" in post-socialist urban development is a value that makes the more abstract culturally hierarchical classification of "modern"/ "non-modern" proximate, directly relevant, and salient to individuals’ and therefore - materially controlled. The presentation and discussion will focus on the valuation of such matter as concrete, and in particular, its "quality", to illustrate that value of a "good quality" or "bad quality" is not an attribute of the concrete, but of activities and their absences performed for transformation of the material: "improvement" or "outdatedness" of concrete. It will show how activities of maintenance involved in the valuation and improvement, or devaluation and erasures/concealment of concrete contribute to the complex dynamics of political imaginary of modern-outdated-modernized urban designs. 

Anastasiya Halauniova (Golovneva) is a Ph.D. candidate at cultural sociology program group at the University of Amsterdam. She received her M.A. in sociology at the European University at St. Petersburg (Russia), conducting a research on the disciplinary practices of bottom-up recycling networks and commodification of waste. Her PhD dissertation 'Urban Aesthetics in Post-Repossessed Cities with German Past: Practices of Assessing and Producing Aestetic Properties of Architecture" follows the practices of doing 'beautiful' and 'ugly' architecture, and the effects that aesthetic appreciations and experiences produce on architects, planners, city officials and activists. Her research interests lay at the intersection of cultural sociology, urban studies and science and technology studies.

The event has a format of a workshop, with the guest researchers to discuss academic projects and research works on different stages of progress, and of the completed projects prepared for print.

Participation in the Urban Seminar implies reading and discussing the researcher’s text. If you wish to join the workshop, please, send an email to Nataliia Otrishchenko ( to receive the materials in advance.