In the aftermath of the First World War, European cities witnessed a massive expansion of producer cooperatives in the building sector. These cooperatives aimed to not only improve urban housing, but also democratize the construction industries and society more broadly. Local cooperatives quickly merged into large national associations that promoted models of collective decision-making and shared ownership. By the early 1920s, pan-European federations had started to distribute information and organize exchange between construction cooperatives that stretched the entire continent. Despite their rapid growth and initial success, however, the construction cooperatives of interwar Europe have been virtually forgotten. This research project offers the first comprehensive analysis of this truly transnational movement. Focusing on England, Germany, and Spain, the project explores how organized labor struggled for economic democracy and greater participation at work.
Philipp Reick is a historian interested in urban history, organized labor, and the transformation of work in modernity. Following his PhD at FU Berlin, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Jerusalem and Berlin. His publications have explored the roots of gentrification, the birth of urban movements, and the transnational exchange of utopian thought. While in Aarhus, one of his projects will focus on the digital analysis of historical city records.
Making it home: A transnational history of building cooperatives and urban housing in interwar Europe, 1919–1926
Area of research:
1 October 2020 - 30 September 2023