Tower, Slab, Superblock: A reading list

Resources for understanding the past, present, and future of public housing.

December 10, 2016

The rehabilitation of social housing and the reassessment of the postwar high-rise are topics that have received a lot of scholarly and popular attention. Below is a reading list with just some of the most interesting that work that we’ve come across and that influenced our thinking as we planned the conference Tower, Slab, Superblock: Social housing legacies and futures.


Beckett, Andy. “The Fall and Rise of the Council Estate.” The Guardian. 13 July 2016.

Campkin, Ben, David Roberts, and Rebecca Ross, eds. Urban Pamphleteer #2: Regeneration Realities. London: UCL Urban Laboratory, 2013.

Campkin, Ben and Rebecca Ross, eds. Urban Pamphleteer #6: Open-source Housing Crisis. London: UCL Urban Laboratory, 2016.

Dening, Geraldine and Simon Elmer. “Architects for Social Housing: Fighting a political ‘crisis.‘” openDemocracy. 30 July 2015.

Edwards, Michael. “The Housing Crisis and London.” City 20.2 (2016): 222-37.

Meek, James. “Where Will We Live?” London Review of Books 36.9 (2014): 7-16. London Review of Books. 09 Jan. 2014.

Minton, Anna. “London Had a Sub-prime Housing Problem. Now It Has a Super-prime Crisis.” The Guardian. 20 Apr. 2016.

Watt, Paul, and Anna Minton. “London’s Housing Crisis and Its Activisms.” City 20.2 (2016): 204-21. 06 Apr. 2016.

Wilkinson, Tom. “Typology: Housing Estate.” Architectural Review. 12 Aug. 2016.



Arpa, Javier. Paris Habitat: Cent Ans De Ville, Cent Ans De Vie. Paris: Pavillon De L’Arsenal, 2015. Print.

Cupers, Kenny. “The Social Project: Public Housing in Postwar France.” Places Journal. Apr. 2014.

Druot, Frédéric, Anne Lacaton, and Jean-Philippe Vassal. PLUS: Les grands ensembles, territoires d’exception. Barcelona: Editorial Gustavo Gili, 2007. Print.

Geisinger, Jeff. “Improving in Place: Three Social Housing Regeneration Projects in France.” Connective Spaces. 03 Feb. 2015.



August, Martine. “‘It’s all about power and you have none:’ The marginalization of tenant resistance to mixed-income social housing redevelopment in Toronto, Canada.” Cities 57 (2016): 25-32.

ERA Architects, PlanningAlliance, and Cities Centre at the University of Toronto. Tower Neighbourhood Renewal in the Greater Golden Horseshoe: An Analysis of High-Rise Apartment Tower Neighbourhoods Developed in the Post-War Boom (1945-1984). Rep: Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2010.

Halais, Flavie. “How Toronto Is Revitalizing Its Aging Suburban Residential Towers.” Citiscope. 13 Aug. 2015.

Stewart, Graeme. “The Suburban Tower and Toronto’s First Mass Housing Boom.” (2007).


Multiple geographies

Bloom, Nicholas Dagen, Fritz Umbach, and Lawrence J. Vale, eds. Public Housing Myths: Perception, Reality, and Social Policy. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2015. Print.

Davies, Gary. “Is Failure Central to the Architectural Profession?” Failed Architecture. 25 June 2013.

Dukmasova, Maya. “The Goldberg Variation: High-rise Public Housing That Works.” Chicago Reader. 05 Oct. 2016.

“Exemplary Housing Regeneration in Europe.” The Architects’ Journal (2015).

Glendinning, Miles, and Stefan Muthesius. Tower Block: Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. New Haven: Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art by Yale UP, 1994. Print.

Schindler, Susanne. “The Bronx’s Lambert Houses and the Two Sides of Preservation.”Urban Omnibus. 01 Apr. 2015.

Turkington, Richard, Ronald Van Kempen, and Frank Wassenberg, eds. High-rise Housing in Europe: Current Trends and Future Prospects. Vol. 28. Delft: DUP Science, 2004. Print. Housing and Urban Policy Studies.

Vale, Lawrence J. Purging the Poorest: Public Housing and the Design Politics of Twice-cleared Communities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. Print.