Jane M. Jacobs took over as one of the co-editors of Society and Space earlier this year. The interview below, conducted by continuing co-editor Deborah Cowen, is the first of a planned three interview with the new co-editors. Stuart Elden will interview Peter Gratton, and Natalie Oswin interview Maia Green in coming weeks. [Update the Maia Green interview is now here]
Deborah Cowen: Thanks so much for talking to us Jane. Lets start with your current work. Can you tell us about your high-rise project?
For some time now – too long possibly, given how responsive research agendas seems to be nowadays – I (we really) have been investigating what we call the ‘many afterlives’ of a particular building type. That building type is the residential high-rise. More accurately, my small research group has been investigating the afterlives of a particular housing vision. It is a vision that combined architectural modernism, state-sponsorship, bureaucratic management, and aspirations for modernization through universal housing provision. What we have been investigating is the modernist-inspired, residential high-rise of state-sponsored mass housing schemes. You can see, from the many qualifiers I put around our architectural type of the ‘high-rise’ – modernist-inspired, residential, state-sponsored, mass housing – that we are already talking about something that is more complicated than a mere building type. One can see such artefacts in many places across the globe, for this was a vision and a typology that proliferated. Our interest has been specifically with manifestations in Britain and Singapore, although we could have gone to any number of other contexts.
Continue reading here.