Planning Aarhus as a welfare geography: urban modernism and the shaping of ‘welfare subjects’ in post-war Denmark

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This article investigates how governmental power in the emerging Danish welfare system operated through transformations to the urban geography. The focus is on two concrete cases, namely two regional plans for the Greater Aarhus Area published in 1954 and 1966. By functionally dividing the city into spaces for work, housing, consumption, transportation and recreation, these plans aimed to knit certain behavioural patterns into the everyday life of the urban dwellers and thereby promote the becoming of a particular social order and subjects. This demonstrates how the emerging welfare state worked proactively in these decades, reconfiguring urban space in the nexus between welfare, modernism and affluence. Moreover, the article addresses the outcome of the plans, seeking to explain their unsuccessful trajectory by approaching them at the intersection of the local, national and transnational. In order to approach the complex relationship between welfare and urban space, the article proposes ‘welfare geography’ as the primary analytical category. Bridging perspectives from governmentality-studies and critical human geography, this category is designed to study how welfare as a ‘dispositif’ is geographically assembled from multiple perspectives, comprising planned, imagined, material as well as lived dimensions.
TidsskriftPlanning Perspectives
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)1031-1053
Antal sider23
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2020
Udgivet eksterntJa