Sec. 2a – Historical Background

2.a._historical background

After the end of WW2, Slovenia became a part of the new state of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia with a new social-political system, self-management socialism based on social ownership and social equality. Private property was nationalised, and the post-war reconstruction and the simultaneous “construction” of the new state began. The renovation of the housing stock and the improvement of living conditions was one of the priorities of Yugoslavia’s Socialist social programme.

Architecture became one of the most progressive forces of cultural engagement. Architects were to retain an enviable level of autonomy and still be able to pursue the goals of the Socialist society. They combined their expression and interventions with Modernist and Functionalist principles into original urban and architectural solutions, also in the housing construction sector, aiming for the improved quality of living for the general public.

In Ljubljana, the key projects of renovation and city development were taken on by the young generation of architects led by architect and professor Edvard Ravnikar, a student of Jože Plečnik, who worked in Le Corbusier’s studio shortly before WW2.

        Based on examples from northern Europe, especially Sweden (the main reference was neighborhood Villingby, a satellite settlement in the suburbs of Stockholm), students of prof. Ravnikar’s seminar began to develop the concept of a residential neighborhood as a sociological and physical grouping, a concluded autonomous territorial unit, which enabled a better organisation of a city’s spatial development.

       Their concept was presented as the model of an “ideal neighbourhood” for 5,000 inhabitants at the exhibition “Family and Households” in Zagreb in 1958.

        Basic urban principles for the planning directives of Ljubljana were prepared in 1953, but the General Urban Plan of Ljubljana, the first comprehensive urban document of the city after the WW2, was adopted in 1965. It divided the city into urban zones and proposed series of tall residential developments along the city arteries. The neighbourhood unit was defined as the basic organising principle of the urban planning policy.

       In the same year, also a Housing Reform was implemented, which triggered the beginning of the construction of housing for the market. Further development of the city was carried out with an intensive construction of housing estates until the end of the 80s.

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