Urbanisation of large conurbations at the beginning of the 20th century

(16-06-2021) In his doctoral thesis ‘Urbanisons! Urbanising the Antwerp Agglomeration, 1907-1939’ Tom Broes examines the urbanisation of large agglomerations in the early 20th century.

This dissertation examines an episode in the history of spatial development in Belgium that has so far received only sporadic attention: the urbanisation of large agglomerations at the beginning of the twentieth century.

The Antwerp case, and in particular the work of the "Study Committee for the Design of the Antwerp Agglomeration" (SCAA) is studied in depth as an example of this period. The knowledge contribution of this work is twofold.

On the one hand, this dissertation documents the long-term activities of the SCAA and its concrete contribution to the historical development of 'Greater Antwerp'.

On the other hand, this work should be read as an attempt to conceptualise the kind of urbanism practised by the SCAA as "l'art de l'urbanisation" as the work of the SCAA has been characterised in contemporary literature. A concept of urbanism that departed from a strong concept of urbanisation and that was based on a completely different foundation than the many urbanistic models that emerged in the international context at the beginning of the twentieth century. In this sense, the thesis attempts to explore a different kind of epistemology of urbanism. An epistemology that seeks points of reference in critical and urbanisation theory frameworks - an approach that seems very relevant in the current era of generalised urbanisation.

Contact: Tom Broes

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Editor: Jeroen Ongenae - Final editing: Ilse Vercruysse - Illustrator: Roger Van Hecke