Exploratory Talks as a Tool for Co-Diagnosis: Comparative Analysis of Residential Neighbourhoods in New Belgrade & Almere Haven

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[Intro] The paper introduces a participatory tool for assessment of the Middle-Class Mass Housing (MCMH) in Europe that was simultaneously applied in two studies, on the two cases New Belgrade (Serbia) and Almere Haven (The Netherlands). The studies were exploring the values, problems and opportunities of these residential neighbourhoods through the eyes of their residents. [Method] A comparative analysis reveals contrasting and complementary aspects of the two cases. Exploratory interviews and surveys were used to collect testimonies of residents, informing the method of assessment (co-diagnosis) in residential neighbourhoods. By applying the same tool and comparing results, the paper contributes to a validation of this method for research on MCMH neighbourhoods in different regions and for different MCMH typologies and scales. [Result] The paper highlights some main themes of residents’ analysis of their neighbourhood’s strengths and weaknesses. Aspects discussed are, among others, deterioration (technical, functional, social), sense of community, place attachment, maintenance and taking care, ownership and appropriation, quality of public spaces and green areas, satisfaction and comfort. Both researches are still in development, but some preliminary conclusions can be sketched. Although both cases were built in the same decades (1970s-80s), they seem to hold opposite architectural and urban characteristics. New Belgrade is composed of modernist blocks with mass housing types in a high-rise urban pattern with mainly collective green spaces. Almere Haven is a suburban low-rise pattern and consists of a wide variety of typologies, materials and a range of private, collective and public green spaces. However, the residents’ opinions and assessments show many similarities, regarding the themes they address and the values and problems they identify. [Value for MCMH] The paper illustrates the diversity of MCMH in two different European regions and projects, identifying the broad scope that is needed to assess MCMH. Moreover, the method of exploratory talks with residents is identified as an important participatory tool within the broader analytical framework for MCMH neighbourhoods.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptimistic Suburbia 2 - International Conference Proceedings
EditorsAna Vaz Milheiro, Ines Lima Rodrigues, Beatriz Serrazina, Leonor Matos Silva
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventInternational Conference Optimistic Suburbia 2: Middle-Class Mass Housing Complexes - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 16 Jun 202118 Jun 2021


ConferenceInternational Conference Optimistic Suburbia 2: Middle-Class Mass Housing Complexes


  • Co-diagnosis
  • New Belgrade
  • Almere Haven


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