Conference participants also criticized the plan to divert rogue construc-tion to single-family homes, which had been touted as an affordable solution, for being ill thought out from a financial perspective. In Belgrade, by 1967, the cost of preparing a parcel of land for the construction of single-family home was very high, between 1.2 million and 4 million dinars. After adding the cost of building a house, an apartment in such a house cost 100,000 old dinars per square meter or more, which was not within the means of an average rogue builder. In contrast to legal builders, who built their homes using bank loans, rogue builders’ earnings were too low to obtain credit. In Belgrade, employers often offered some financial assistance, but this was part of the problem rather than the solution, because the loan was too small to allow workers to obtain an apartment, but just enough to finance rogue construction.98
However, rogue builders were not the only ones to find the financial burden of family homes daunting. According to Ranko Manoljevic, representing the Section for Communal Works and Construction (Odeljenja za komunalne i gradevinske poslove) of the district of Vozdovac, the family-home scheme was also a financial nightmare for the districts. He pointed out that each district in Belgrade disposed of an average yearly budget of 200 to 250 million old dinars. In Vozdovac the past year, they had experienced approximately two hundred cases of rogue construction. In order to relocate these households, two hun-dred parcels for family homes had to be prepared, for a total cost of 400 mil-lion old dinars, or roughly twice the districts’ yearly budget. He added that it would be foolish to expect that districts would be allocated more monies for this purpose.99 gal inhabitants of the district, in order to finance homes for usurpers. Nor should the rightful users of the land be forced to cover the costs of relocating squatters, as was currently the case. Each person should be responsible for his or her own expenses. Manoljevic represented the point of view of those who had obtained their houses legally and balked at the idea of supporting others through their taxes, a transaction that was largely accepted in Western Europe. This lack of solidarity with the underprivileged may seem incongruous in a socialist state. However, Yugoslavia’s very status as a socialist state made it very difficult to tackle the issue of persistent social inequality. Yugoslavia did not have a social housing system in place, in the sense of a housing program spe-cifically targeted at the poor. Despite openly endorsing inequality in consump-tion, Yugoslav policy makers insisted on framing social inequality as tempo-rary, rather than structural. For if a socialist regime necessarily perpetuated or created social inequality, what separated it from a capitalist one?
Despite the reservations expressed by Manoljevic and others, the document adopted at the end of the conference, entitled “Observations and Recommen-dations on Illegal Housing Construction,” concluded that “the conference fully confirmed the opinion that the refinement of the system of single family homes in cities . . . is the only way to effectively combat and eliminate rogue construction in cities.”100 The document acknowledged the importance of fi-nancial support. It recommended that monies from various existing sources be mobilized to finance single-family homes. Given that these sources were already mobilized for this purpose, it is not clear what such a recommendation would have achieved. More significantly, it suggested that all citizens help fi-nance the preparation of single-family home parcels through their communal fees, out of solidarity the very approach to which Manoljevic had objected. It also proposed that employers offer credit to their employees specifically to defray the cost of preparing the parcels of land, presumably in higher amounts than they had hitherto disbursed. 101 This document also made other recommendations to promote single-family housing, such as the development and popularization of authorized plans for family houses, which had been the topic of an earlier conference that year. It adopted the same position as Bordevic had articulated two years be-fore that parcels should as often as possible be located in Belgrade’s far pe-riphery, where there was room and where it was not necessary to invest in high-standard infrastructure. It noted that upcoming legislation would close the loophole so effectively exploited by builders, by eliminating rogue builders’ right for compensation due to expropriation. Lastly, it recommended a series of measures to strengthen the swift prosecution of rogue construction sites be-fore they reached completion. In other words, either because of bureaucratic inertia and lack of imagination or because of the inability of local governments to muster financial resources to finance a different strategy, new insights into the nature of rogue construction did not translate into a new approach. The results were, therefore, likely to be more of the same.
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In basing Belgrade’s master plan on the Athens Charter, policy makers and urban planners had hoped to modernize the city’s urban fabric and the mentality of its population. The Athens Charter promised to lessen the cost of modern-ization by collectivizing consumption of space as much as possible. However, economic actors who were expected to finance this modernization were either not willing or not able to do so: many companies could not afford apartments for their employees, and no one seemed willing to finance the amenities that were supposed to accompany housing. This failure suggested that policy mak-ers had perhaps not chosen a modernization strategy that Yugoslavia’s devel-oping economy could support.
The federal state’s decision to market housing to consumers, as discussed in the previous decorating, was part of a broader shift in Yugoslavia’s modernization strategy, toward market socialism. The economic reforms were meant to increase productivity in Yugoslav firms, and the reforms specific to the housing sector were intended to introduce competition among socially owned construction companies. These measures were entirely compatible with the existing town planning framework, rationalizing the industrial production of modernist towers and slabs. However, the federal and municipal authori-ties chose to simultaneously pursue another strategy, that of facilitating selfbuilding, because it promised quick results. This strategy, in contrast, was not compatible with the modernist functional city.
In understanding how the Yugoslav state could pursue two seemingly inconsistent policies, it is necessary to recognize that the state was in fact made up of competing actors with diverging interests. In a context of scarce resources, different state agencies promoted responses to “rogue construction” that were designed to meet their own priorities. Thus, officials working at the local level proposed strategies that solved their problems at the local level, while urban planners defended strategies that were most likely to preserve their vision intact, and the federal state was most preoccupied with resolving the housing crisis at minimal expense. Housing consumers, in this context, sought to take advantage of the new opportunities that were created in the process to satisfy their own needs and desires.
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