Our thesis/research deals with public housing. Our starting point is to access the importance of residence in general, its unquestionable significance to people’s lives- irrespective of financial background-, whilst we underline every person’s right to enjoy ‘luxury accommodation’. Consequently, there is a part that describes the evolution of public housing through the years, from pure labor accommodation-dating back to the industrial revolution- to its current form. It has to be noted that the organization of our research will be chronological. Thus, our first concern is to analyze it as a phenomenon that firstly appeared in the 19th century Europe, when industry began to grow, making it vital for labor residences to be created in major cities of high population. As years were passing by, industrial residence was proved to be the mere solution to the working class housing problem, whilst in the early 1920’s the concept of ‘minimum housing’ is introduced and incorporated in almost every big city of the western world.
Having said all the aforementioned, we critically analyze the concept of public housing that basically emerged during the 20th century in Europe. During this period not only the first aspects of modernism make their appearance but also the first signs of urban development are obvious.
Public housing can be sub categorized as follows: individual and collective one. Through Le Corbusier’s and A. Alto’s approach, our research is going to describe the so called mass architecture for both high and low budgets. Furthermore, there will be a reference to some of the major European and international operators in this field, as well as to the World Habitat awards. (Social accommodation)
In an attempt to make our approach slightly more specific, there will be a critical analysis of public housing as it firstly appeared in Greece during the 20th century. (Please note that the first real attempt in Greece to have public residences was in the form of providing accommodation/shelters for refugees). Our research describes in depth the appropriate legal settings, while there is a reference concerning the introduction of horizontal property (4o CIAM 1933) which ultimately led to the growing development of apartment buildings either as publicly or privately funded. We carry on by analyzing the respective implementing operators in Greece, and the extent to which the state interferes with issues of housing, OEK‘s actions and last but not least Aris Constantinides’ vital contribution to the subject. Moreover, upon assessing the situation in Greece during the 60’s and the 80’s, we describe the model type of labor housing for Greek standards, the so called Asyrmato.
In addition, we are going to examine the rationale behind social housing in Greece over the last years, especially from 1960 onwards, which housing policy is being diverted, and the extent to which the widespread housing and social precarity demands provision for social housing without social limitations and exclusions.
To conclude, we use France, one of the major European countries with a long tradition in public residence, in order to present a number of worth mentioning examples of public housing-through photographs, designs and architectural plans. Lastly, we refer to how social accommodation has evolved in Greece.