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Busy body: living and working in urban renewal neighbourhoods


Soscha Monteiro de Jesus

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June 19, 2023

Participatory urban renewal reinforces the isolation of working-class women. This was concluded in the 1983 publication “Zoiets maak je toch niet, ik zeg altijd, dat doen mannen…”. This booklet criticizes 1980s participatory urban renewal of the Staatsliedenbuurt in Amsterdam and addresses the exclusion of women. Several inventive tools were developed in this neighbourhood to empower women to make their diverse, tacit, embodied knowledge heard and make design suggestions that better fitted their needs. As a result, new knowledge was brought into participatory urban renewal processes of which women were so often excluded; diversifying and expanding what was commonly perceived as the concerns of the resident. This paper brings forward various tools developed in the Staatsliedenbuurt that were used as vehicles to bring women’s voices into urban renewal processes, such as the fictiocritical character Els, a workshop on dwelling stories, and a manual. The paper contributes to histories on the collective efforts by various women’s groups in the 1980s that fought exclusion and sought to develop feminist approaches for urban design by making what is the tacitly known, explicit; making the invisible, visible.

This paper will be presented at the TACK Conference in the paper session NATURE(S), 19 June 2023 between 14:30 – 17:00 (CEST) at ETH Zürich (Auditorium HPV G5).

Soscha Monteiro de Jesus is a PhD researcher at TU Delft. She investigates how urban design approaches have evolved with paradigms of sustainability at the end of the twentieth century. She is an AHRA Steering Group member and cofounder of a housing cooperative. Soscha holds a MSc from TU Delft.