League, the Red Cross, and youth organizations. While we might assume that this role of the residential community was most important in the context of self-management, it was in fact the least well-defined dimension of its mandate. In his discussion of the residential community as a spatial concept, Sasa
Sedlar only dedicated one paragraph to this topic, while he devoted several pages to its technical functions, such as providing housekeeping services, and its social functions, such as child care and recreation.59
The residential community had obvious affinities with established town planning concepts like the neighborhood unit and its Soviet counterpart, the kvartal, and its successor under Khrushchev, the microraion. Clarence Perry proposed the idea of the neighborhood unit in 1923, as a response to conditions in industrializing American cities. In order to foster a sense of community in this setting, he argued for the creation of self-contained neighborhoods bounded by streets and served by a single school and local shops. The size of the neighborhood would be determined by walking distance to schools. In his 1939 publication Housing in the Machine Age, Perry combined the neighborhood-unit concept with the superblock. Modernist functionalism incorporated a similar concept: article 88 of the Athens Charter, for example, states that, “so that dwellings can be more easily supplied with common services dealing conveniently with the supply of food, education, medical attention, and the enjoyment of leisure, it will be necessary to group them in ‘habitation units’ of adequate size.”60 This concept had already been incorporated into the 1950 master plan for Belgrade, as discussed in the previous decorating.
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A symposium organized by the Federal Institute for Urbanism and Communal Questions (Savezni zavod za urbanizam i komunalne pitanje) in 1962, on the spatial planning of the residential community, provided an opportunity for urban planners to establish a more concrete definition of the concept. This was essential, as Sreten Bjelicic pointed out, because, in the six years since its introduction, urban planners had continued to design housing settlements without paying any attention whatsoever to successfully realizing such communities.61 The symposium focused specifically on programming, dealing with such questions as how large residential communities should be, what they should con-tain, and how they should be financed. The professional journal Arhitektura Ur-banizam reprinted several of the presentations made at this symposium.
Contributions by Jernejec and by Sila and Miscevic reprinted in Arhitektura Urbanizam attempted to put some flesh on the residential community. They all agreed that walking distance should be a determining factor in the boundaries of the community, although Sila and Miscevic listed a variety of other factors that should potentially be taken into consideration, and insisted on the impor-tance of “natural” borders such as geology, rivers, and major thoroughfares. Ul-timately, for Sila and Miscevic, there was no one-size-fits-all recipe; each case had to be considered on its own merits. In their view, the residential commu-nity could have anywhere from forty-five hundred to ten thousand inhabitants. Beyond the question of boundaries, the residential community was described as having a pyramidal structure, in which inhabitants belonged to a series of successively larger nested communities. For example, the smallest-scale community would be the group of apartment buildings encircling a playground for small children. Each quarter, comprising several such groups, would be equipped with a larger playground, shops for everyday needs, and child care services. The neighborhood was the next level up, with its own shopping center, elementary school, services, community center, and sports fields.62
In general, however, architect Vladimir Bjelikov noted an absence of agreement regarding the characteristics of a residential community. Planners could not agree, for example, on the appropriate size or range of sizes for a residential community. While some proposed that the size of a school should determine the size of the residential community from which it would draw its students, he pointed out that participants working in the field of education did not agree on what the ideal size might be. He pointed to an alternative method, proposed by the Belgrade planning office: the community of consumers, a term that echoed the language of the residential community law of 1959. According to this approach, the minimal size of the residential community would be determined by the number of consumers sufficient to enable the businesses serving them to break even. There were also discrepancies between the legal definition of the concept and the way in which planners were using it. For example, Bjelikov observed that no one at the symposium had addressed the political dimensions of the residential community.63