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Red Grivița: the Building of a Socialist Neighborhood in Bucharest (1944‑1958) (2019-2020)

Field of study: Urban History

This article investigates the postwar change of Griviţa neighborhood in Bucharest, Romania, between 1944 and 1958, from a neighborhood traditionally inhabited by workers of the Romanian Railway Company to a space governed by the
new socialist ideology. This modification consisted in the reconstruction of the dwellings destroyed during the war, the building of new apartment buildings insocialist style (and the search for the adequate form that the socialist architectural ideology should take), but also in changing the names of the streets and of the institutions, a massive propaganda on radio and written press, an investment in
sports activities, a new approach to women’s urban needs and a different way in distributing the new dwellings. The socialist authorities considered Griviţa as probably the most suitable district in Bucharest to start the reform with due to the large number of communist supporters among the workers of the Railway Company. As early as September 1944, the new authorities started the reshaping
of the district and, by 1958, when a new approach towards the city planning was adopted, Griviţa represented the district towards which the attention of the authorities and opposition had turned. My study sheds light on the motivations of the reformers and the ideological print of socialist ideology in this large-scale process of urban building, as well as on the administrative resources involved and the reaction of the tenants in the neighborhood to these transformations.

Keywords: housing, postwar reconstruction, socialist urban planning, daily life, propaganda, street naming, socialist neighborhood, sports

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