Suburban Housing vs. Settlement Housing

Bogumil,

As an American, I would like to bring something to your attention regarding the housing policy of the German Reich. In preceding ARPLAN posts concerning the NSDAP, there were proposals being forward on how to alleviate the housing shortage in the German Reich during the Interwar years. The topic was mentioned in passing on a few occasions. The SPD, the political party covered in the latest ARPLAN post, was also the same party which proposed Rent Control as a way of mitigating the housing shortage. Meanwhile, in an earlier post, Gottfried Feder was proposing for a nationalized commercial bank that would finance urban development and construction projects.

What I have yet to ascertain regarding the NSDAP was how well they handled the housing shortage from the Weimar years. Yes, I am aware that the NSDAP promoted socioeconomic policies that would make radio receivers and automobiles affordable to the average family, resulting in limited production runs of the Volksempfänger and Volkswagen respectively. I am curious about the outcome of the German Reich’s housing policies because, from my understanding, they appeared to have inherited their policies from ones which dated back to the Weimar years.

Apparently, Chancellor Heinrich Brüning in 1931 managed to implement a “Settlement Housing Program” to address the housing shortage.  In the cities, apartment complexes would be designed to house entire families and small businesses. Meanwhile, out in the countryside, there would be these neighborhoods of single-family homes with adjacent infrastructure accommodating gardens and animal husbandry. They would be self-contained and self-sufficient enough to support themselves. The Hitlerists had to have continued aspects of these policies because some of those structures are still around and there are people who do consider them as their personal residencies. 

On my Blog, I am currently delving into questions related to housing and transportation policies. An important area of focus happens to be addressing the problems of American Suburbia, from its environmental impact and overreliance on automobiles to its inability to be self-sustaining and difficulties financing its long-term expenses. If there was something that caught my attention to those policies from the German Reich, it had confirmed my long-standing conclusions about the German-speaking world continuing to maintain well-defined distinctions between urban and rural areas. Even the concept of the “Vorort,” the closest equivalent to our English-speaking world’s conceptions of Suburbia, is not a precise one insofar as Suburbia itself is generally understood as separate spatial entities existing between urban and rural areas.  

I say this because I discovered that in a functional Council Democracy, the German Reich’s “Settlement Housing” could become sizeable enough to form their own local Chambers subordinate to the Councils of adjacent Municipal governments. It would tie in with what Rudolf Jung was describing towards the end of “Der nationale Sozialismus (2nd Ed.)” regarding “Municipalization” or “Municipal Socialism.” In essence, introduce the conditions where local residential settlements are able to create sources of wealth which they can sustain themselves. These residencies would in theory be organized as part of Cooperatives which would act as the primary source of the residents’ economic livelihoods. It would also prevent them from relying on real estate firms, privatized commercial banks, or wealthy landowners as Landlords. Moreover, these Cooperatives and other Enterprises would be attached to the Chambers of each Municipal government’s Council, thereby completing the Municipalization that Jung had envisaged. Of course, the version that I am working on at the moment will be different from that of Jung’s.
The differences between the Settlement Housing Program and American Suburbia are like night and day. Rather than promote conditions where residents will be able to support themselves, aspects of FDR’s New Deal programs helped spur the accelerated growth of American Suburbia through cheap Kapital at low Interest Rates. The Kapital would be spent on houses and automobiles, in addition to a wide range of goods and services, and the incurred Schuld to be paid off later. That was how Consumerism enabled Americans to achieve higher living standards and affluent status in the few decades after 1945. The difference between “Consumer Spending” and “Government Spending,” apart from who or what is doing the spending, is nil insofar as the economic growth in question is purely being driven by ever-increasing spending. It is why I am not at all surprised by the poor of state of affairs in American Suburbia, like the crumbling infrastructure or the inability of young families to afford housing.

There is another WordPress Blog which I have been using as a general frame of reference in formulating my own arguments. It’s called “Envisioning the American Dream.” Some relevant posts in particular stood out to me that served as stark contrasts to everything that Jung stood for. If there was relevant quote that should be made into an aphorism to summarize them it ought to be this one: “Through the power of the mania for gold, Ahasuerus, the ruler of the world, brandishes the whip over the trembling slaves who believe themselves free simply because they are permitted to babble about freedom!”

A Blueprint for the Middle Class: https://envisioningtheamericandream.com/2012/09/24/a-blueprint-for-the-middle-class/  

A Soaring Economy: https://envisioningtheamericandream.com/2013/09/26/a-soaring-economy-2/  

In Praise of the Small Businessman: https://envisioningtheamericandream.com/2014/11/28/in-praise-of-the-small-businessman/  

Plugged into the American Dream: https://envisioningtheamericandream.com/2014/09/25/plugged-into-the-american-dream/  

The Gold Standard for the American Dream: https://envisioningtheamericandream.com/2015/12/17/the-gold-standard-for-the-american-dream/  

In closing, there is much that I have yet to accomplish before I can finally finish my ongoing explorations on housing and transportation policies. “As can be seen, the field is rich enough. May it be cultivated properly!”

Signed,
-DAH



Categories: Philosophy

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