Good and Bad Concrete

Good and Bad Concrete

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Anastasiya Golovneva

University of Amsterdam

October 29, 2019 / 4.00 pm

Center for Urban History, Lviv

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 controlledThe 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or devaluation and erasures/concealment of concrete contribute to the complex dynamics of political imaginary of modern-outdated-modernized urban designs. 

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.