Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Architecture and Culture

For a Special Issue on

Equity, Gender and Spatial Justice: Post-War Welfare States and their Landscapes and Cities

Manuscript deadline
03 October 2023

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Special Issue Editor(s)

Professor Luca Csepely-Knorr, University of Liverpool School of Architecture
[email protected]

Associate Professor Henriette Steiner, Section for Landscape Architecture and Planning, University of Copenhagen
[email protected]

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Equity, Gender and Spatial Justice: Post-War Welfare States and their Landscapes and Cities

The importance of and need for green spaces in health and wellbeing, as well as a place for everyday social life, have been put to the forefront of conversations as a consequence of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. [1] A growing number of research projects have highlighted the inequalities of access to, and provision of, green and open spaces, which has resulted in calls for rethinking the distribution of green assets in a more just way, as well as their role in addressing the Climate Crisis. At the same time the pandemic also brought to the forefront questions relating to the role of the State, paternalism and state-financed support structures. In response to these questions,  this special collection will look at a diverse range of open and green spaces, that were designed in response to the idea of ‘fair shares for all’ deriving from the ideals of different Welfare States in post-war Europe and beyond.

When the large-scale architectural and planning efforts were set in motion during the period of the post-WW2 reconstruction of cities, easy access to high-quality green landscapes was often considered to be as important as other pillars of welfare, such as health, education, and retirement benefits. Welfare States supported massive building initiatives that introduced a radically new model of urbanity, characterized by an abundance of green and open spaces including public parks, recreational topographies, and shared spaces on housing estates. These spaces, which remain a constitutive part of today’s urbanized areas, were designed to foster social welfare and individual well-being for all citizens. Beyond their ideals of equal opportunities and social justice in spatial terms, these landscapes often gave opportunities for women to be involved in their co-production either as part of the design teams, advocates, theorists or as intended users. However, some of the Welfare States’ most optimistic projections for the sharing of space, resources and values simultaneously embody some of modern society’s most fraught concepts – including resource exploitation, gigantism, gender bias, the universalist body, biopolitics, social engineering, nationalism, and ideas of human exceptionalism.

In light of changing welfare politics today, the relevance of open and green spaces as living heritage, their underlying ideologies and intended contributions to citizens’ lives, and the sustainability of their design are all increasingly contested. The complexly interlinked climatic, economic, political and social crises currently facing our modern industrial culture’s products and workings need research and understanding that addresses the paradoxes of the materialization of the ideas of the post-war Welfare States and their green and open spaces in a multidisciplinary context.

Therefore, this proposed Special Issue asks:

  • What happens if we regard the post-war period not as an era of optimism, but as a moment when the concept of welfare itself snapped into focus as a place of contestation and debate?
  • How was this contestation articulated and negotiated in cities and their designed landscapes as places where economic growth, public building programmes and ideals about social justice went hand-in-hand?
  • How can a deeper understanding of the complex and contested nature of the planning of open and green spaces in welfare states contribute to both an ecologically and socially sustainable future?

We welcome papers that focus on a diverse range open spaces in an international context – from urban design, to spaces of infrastructures to landscapes at various scales. Themes to be explored might include, but need not be limited to, the following:

  • Relationship between architecture, landscape, planning and the wider context of the Welfare State including policy, public perceptions and social changes
  • The idea and reality of spatial equity in the period of the post-war reconstruction and its legacy today
  • The role of women in the creation of the concept and lived realities of open spaces since the post-war period
  • Tensions between various ideals of welfare – such as economic wealth, social well-being, the individual and the collective
  • The role of landscapes and open spaces, created in response to the policies of the welfare states, in building communities and addressing growing concerns of environmental crisis today

[1] Kleinschbroth, F & Kowarik, I (2020) ‘COVID‐19 crisis demonstrates the urgent need for urban greenspaces’ Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 16:6 318-319; Rayman J & Goodier, M (2020) Covid-19 is highlighting cities’ unequal access to green space

Submission Instructions

Select Special Issue title "Equity, Gender and Spatial Justice: Postwar Welfare States and their Landscapes and Cities" when submitting your paper to Editorial Manager.

We aim to publish papers and visual essays authored by scholars at different stages of their careers, and we encourage multidisciplinary collaboration.

Expected publication of Special Issue in March 2025.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article