Video Chronicle

Urban Question
8 October 2019

On October 8, 2019, Kamil Śmiechowski delivered a lecture "Urban question in East Central Europe circa 1900: generalities and local conditions".

The nineteenth century was a turning point in urbanization and industrialization of Europe. All European societies from West to East experienced many important changes connected with adaptation from rural into urban lifestyle. Increasing level of urban population caused many new problems and challenges like housing conditions, poverty, air pollution or elementary education. All of them needed to be solved by local administration, which became the political issue. Ambitious visions of social reform were created parallel to programs of municipal reforms. City of the future was imagined as a modern utopia with wide range self-government.

Under these circumstances, an urban development in East Central Europe was paradigmatic. Biggest cities in Russian Empire as well as in Austria-Hungary like Warsaw, Łódź or Lviv had to cope with typical problems of rapid development. However, their situation was different due to political situation in each of empires and position of cities in national discourses.

Kamil Śmiechowski – historian, PhD in history of Poland, graduated from the University of Łódź in 2013. His research interests are focused on urban theory, analyses of press discourse, processes of modernization the in 19th and 20th-century Poland, and history of Łódź.