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Title: The Housing Question in Buenos Aires, 1900-1925. Reformism, Technical Imagination, and Public Opinion in an Expanding Metropolis
Authors: Marimon, Martin Ignacio
Advisors: Adelman, Jeremy
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: Buenos Aires
Public opinion
Social policy
Unión Cívica Radical
Subjects: Latin American history
Urban planning
Public policy
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines the history of how and why the housing of the urban masses became a concern among the political and technical elites of Buenos Aires, Argentina, during the first two and a half decades of the 20th century. Through the exploration of discourses and visual representations of what was then called “the housing question,” I reconstruct the emerging notions of social welfare and the visions of urban development that reformers of different sorts formulated in a period of rapid economic and social change, and of dramatic expansion of the nation’s capital. In my analysis of such formulations, I begin with the sanitary concerns of late-nineteenth-century physicians, who saw in tenements a source of epidemic disease. I then turn to the legislative and urban proposals put forth during the pre-war years, which promoted self-owned individual housing as a solution to the social question. I also examine attempts to tackle the rent crisis through contract and price regulation during the 1919-1921 years, and, finally, the new types of collective dwelling designed by professional architects in the 1920s to solve the housing shortage. My analysis of the emergence and early development of the housing question in Buenos Aires reappraises traditional historical studies of housing in several ways. First, in focusing on Buenos Aires, a peripheral metropolis in the midst of a political transition from oligarchic to democratic regime, I reframe the familiar view of mass housing as part of social welfare policies of the mature capitalist order and of democratic states. Second, I place within the purview of housing policies the study of rent regulation, which traditionally has been seen as a temporary emergency measure. I show here, to the contrary, how rent regulation could become the main vector of a new, social conception of housing. Finally, through a fine-grained analysis of the historical conjuncture that led to rent regulation, I question the predominant top-down portrayals of the origins of housing policy, demonstrating instead that they can emerge through democratic processes of struggle and exchange, happening both in parliament and in the public sphere.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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