Hemmens forskningsinstitut (HFI, or Home Research Institute), founded in 1944, conducted a series of studies of homes.

Peer-reviewed articles creating the IDEAL CITIZEN A comparison of Swedish and Estonian practical housing policy in the postwar era

Like many other modern states, both the Soviet Union, with its authoritian socialism, and Sweden, with its social democracy, strived to shape their citizens' lives for the better. Both states considered it their duty actively to plan, organize and control housing.

Published in the printed edition of Baltic Worlds BW Vol VII:2-3, 2014 p 37-44.
Published on balticworlds.com on October 20, 2014

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“The future town — that of a communist society —
is being shaped today; this is the basic principle in the planning and construction of our towns and settlements.”1

The home and its immediate surroundings were important components of the massive modernization project of the 20th century. Even during the century’s early years, the struggle for the city as the heart of modern culture and the home as its expression in the day-to-day lives of citizens became an ideological battle all over Europe. In 1930s Germany, the minimalist, functionalist Bauhaus school was pitted against the National Socialist “Heimatschutz” style, while in the Soviet Union Stalinist architecture strove to conquer the symbols of bourgeois society and give them new meaning.2 After the war, the Moscow School of Planning drew plans for a new type of city that would foster the New Soviet Person and make people live in accordance with rational and egalitarian norms.3 In the Baltic States, the construction of large-scale industrial plants with adjoining residential estates, or even separate industrial towns, was considered an important tool for integrating the region in the Soviet sphere. The transformation of urban housing was thought to have a similar influence on industrial workers to that of agricultural collectivization on farm workers.4 However, even in societies disposed to democracy, different theoretical planning ideas were linked to different political ideologies. Different planning ideals were linked to different ideologies and conceptions of the good life and of how to create good citizens.5

Nevertheless, in spite of these divisions, the similarities among visions and arguments were striking. By creating an ideal home and an ideal housing environment, the protagonists of the various ideological movements wanted to shape citizens’ lives and so create ideal citizens. The home and its surroundings became a reflection of the ideological project and its visions at the individual level. The issue at the core of many conflicts over visions of the future city was the extent to which housing and home construction should be directed by the state or by the market.

The present study compares the housing policies of Sweden and Soviet Estonia, with a focus on Stockholm and Tallinn, during the first decade of the postwar period. The focus is not on policy-making, however, but on how the housing policies were carried out — that is, on the practical and the local level. Like many other modern states, both the Soviet Union, with its authoritarian socialism, and Sweden, with its social democracy, strove to shape their citizens’ lives for the better. Both states considered it their duty actively to plan, organize, and control housing.

We begin by asking what differences existed in visions and practices between Sweden and Estonia. Since the turn of the 20th century, the Swedish state had considered it necessary to mitigate market forces and steer them in the right direction.6 In Soviet Estonia, meanwhile, the state supplanted the market’s role entirely by centrally planning the building and distribution of housing. Both countries aspired to control the housing market and to allow other forces besides purely economic ones to regulate a sector that was considered vital to citizens — and to society. This control brought with it the potential for conflict between the state’s overriding interests and the individual’s ability to shape his or her everyday life.

It may seem odd that monitoring and intervention in people’s homes was harsher and more thorough in Sweden than in Soviet Estonia. However, there is a simple explanation. The aim of Sweden’s policies, including monitoring and intervention, was to civilize the population, and this intention often included making citizens healthier. A sound home with appropriate standards would, ideally, produce good, sound citizens. Intervention in the home was aimed at all households, even if some groups and households were specially targeted. Good housing under Estonian policy was instead a gratification to people who had expressed their solidarity with the social order by being prime workers or loyal members of the party. The good home was a premium; it was not for everyone, but for those who had showed loyalty to the socialist system and could be trusted to live in accordance with it without the social control of the dormitories and shared housing. In Estonia, there was no need for the state to intervene in people’s homes. Good, sound housing was rather a goal for people to aspire to if they worked and followed the party.

Sweden. The “good living” concept

In an effort to modernize Swedish society, intense research and planning were already being carried out at various levels of society before the war. In addition to well-known urban planners such as Uno Åhrén and the Myrdals at the central level and in the political process, there existed a network of local experts, housewives’ leagues, nurses and district medical officers, all of whom became authorities on good housing. The “good living” concept was launched and monitored by municipal housing inspectors, who had been authorized since the beginning of the 20th century to visit homes and monitor how people lived. This process was managed in two steps: first, through the state housing policy, which involved planning homes and establishing economic incentives, and second, through follow-up inspections of housing and living situations. Planning took place at a central level through government-supported research and governmental directives for housing construction. Housing policy was institutionalized beginning in the 1930s, first with a series of governmental studies of the issues and later with the creation of the housing authority in 1948. In the process, guidelines became more standardized. The housing authority’s purpose was to maintain the country’s stock of housing; this was achieved through the creation of the National Building Loan Bureau (Statens byggnadslånebyrå). Under the new authority, only those who intended to build homes in accordance with the state-mandated guidelines would be eligible for state subsidies. The requirements came to be summarized in the publication God bostad [Good home]7, which would long serve as the handbook of Swedish home building.

Many international influences came into play. Swedish housing planners, at both the local and national levels, traveled abroad on study trips. In the early 20th century, many Swedish politicians visited Vienna in order to learn from that city’s experience. Later, housing inspectors went both eastward to Finland and westward to Great Britain. These trips indicate not only an ambition to be in the mainstream of the period’s ideological currents, but also an openness to new ideas and influences. The housing inspectors learned from such trips, for example, that they did not want a law as severe as in Britain: they found it too harsh to force people to live in learning apartments to learn how to “live right”.

Housing construction in Sweden declined during the war, in spite of the fact that the housing shortage in Stockholm was acute. After the war, building resumed, supported by the economic upswing that came with increased opportunities for exports at the war’s end. The authorities wanted to build more and better than before, and wasted no time in demolishing inferior housing. As a result, after having been a bad example, Sweden in the 1940s became a model for other countries when it came to housing and housing policy.8 However, in contrast to most other parts of Europe, there was no need for reconstruction since the country had not been directly affected by acts of war.

Beginning in 1945, municipalities were given more authority to plan cities. Just over 50,000 apartments a year were built in Sweden between 1945 and 1960.9 After the war, standards were introduced for the appearance of houses. In the beginning, such standards were seen primarily as good advice which would make it easier to build economically and well for as many people as possible. Now, however, standards were introduced that covered housing design itself: the number of closets, the necessity of a hall, separated bedrooms and common rooms, and more. In 1944, a research institute to further the rationalization of housework was founded, the Hemmets forskningsinstitut (Home Research Institute, HFI). Municipal housing experts — civil servants hired by the municipality to see to that homes adhered to a reasonable standard — would monitor these norms on site: that is, in the homes. This monitoring took the form of both final inspections of newly built housing and visits to older buildings and apartments.

The ambition of housing policy in postwar Sweden predated the war: to improve housing as an instrument to create the good society. More people would have central heating, indoor toilets, and hot running water; more people would have their own bathrooms, more closets, bigger pantries, and better-lit apartments.

Estonia. Building to show off
the new Soviet state

In Estonia, the period up to 1960 was one of recovery and of social and economic restructuring that found expression mainly in industrialization, urbanization, and the relocation of people from other parts of the Soviet Union. As an important element in this restructuring, 90,000 new apartments were built between 1945 and 1959. These dwellings were needed in part to replace those destroyed during the war and in part to meet the demand of increased urbanization and  migration to Soviet Estonia, which had grown 19 percent in population by 1953.10 Nonetheless, a striking housing shortage persisted throughout the Soviet era, an  d during the Stalinist period, workers’ housing was generally considered a minor issue when factories were built. Moreover, during that period collective housing was considered a means of abolishing “private life” and fostering socialism. This is illustrated not least by the miserable living conditions of workers in the prestigious Soviet industrial project of the 1930s, Magnitogorsk in the Urals.11 But in less spectacular settlements too, housing was often dreadful. It was not unknown for five hundred people to share four bathrooms, while access to kitchens and bathrooms was controlled by local supervisors.12

Up to the 1950s, building was dominated by traditional craft methods and by a Stalinist style which attached as much importance to modern aesthetic expression as to function. The objective was more to show off the new Soviet state than to build good homes, even if the latter were sometimes a side effect. In the immediate postwar period, most construction projects were centrally planned in Leningrad and barely adapted to local conditions. But as the cadre of Soviet-educated architects and engineers in Estonia grew, more and more responsibility was given to the local architectural institution Estonprojekt. The largest projects carried out by Estonprojekt were the typical Stalinist living quarters for workers at the Dvigatel factory on Tartu Road in Tallinn and the twelve less monumental residential blocks for workers at the Tallinn shipyards in Pelguranna.13 These projects, like smaller projects of 1951 and 1952 such as the buildings on the corner of Suvorov and Tõnismäe, on Pärnu Road, on Hermanni Street and on Koidu Street, were designed to fit into the existing urban structure. The apartments were small, usually with one or two rooms of 12 to 20 square meters, and designed to accommodate a family in each room, sharing the bathroom and kitchen.14 These houses conformed to the Soviet prewar norm of one family per room. For many urban Soviet workers, this was an improvement over the conditions in workers’ barracks and dormitories. Still, sanitation was a general problem in the crowded apartments.15 Since housing was often was provided by the employer, homes were close to the factories and other enterprises, so that residential quarters were not far from often dirty industries. On the contrary, industry and the workers were viewed as the heart of the modern city, and were not to be separated. Another general problem for new buildings was that of building materials: quality was bad and constant shortages drove builders to use inadequate alternatives. Nonetheless, plans were made for orderly homes with standardized furnishings for different classes of apartments, although they were never realized on a large scale.16 From the mid-1950s on, under the new course of economic policy which called for the production of more consumer goods for the population, more attention was given to planning and building after a period of neglect. After 1955, construction was directed more and more towards industrial and standardized production, and homes with more prefabricated elements and standard designs were planned both locally and centrally. According to the Estonian architectural historian Mart Kalm, the architect was supplanted during this time by the engineer, and aesthetics gave way to functionalism and rationalism in Soviet Estonia. This brought with it a revival of prewar functionalism in building planning, but without the resources needed to fulfill the visions.17 In 1958, the first factory for prefabricated wall panels was opened in Tashkent, and this production model and the corresponding prefab houses were exported to other parts of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc. The models were not modified to suit local conditions, but built as standard houses intended to provide similar conditions all over the Soviet Union.

Building projects in Soviet Estonia were handled primarily by three state firms: urban development and housing construction by Eesti Projekt, industrial planning by Eesti Tööstusprojekt, and planning for rural construction and collective farming by Eesti Maaehitusprojekt. These firms consisted for the most part of locally recruited and trained experts who had to adhere to directives and planning goals formulated at the central level. A striking feature of the directives that appeared in Eesti Projekt’s publications was an orientation toward rational building.18 This encompassed what were considered rational and industrial construction methods and a high degree of mechanization. The objective was to be able to build quickly and efficiently all year round, with a limited labor force, by using machines and prefabricated building components as much as possible. The modernization of building also involved a transition from timber to concrete as the main material. Initially, most projects still followed the existing urban structure and houses were mostly built on vacant lots in existing blocks, as was the housing project on Mulla Street, for example, which was completed in 1958. The two buildings were of a five-story type that allowed the local planners to adapt it to the block and the surrounding infrastructure. They planned a courtyard, and a sauna was also built for the inhabitants.19

In 1957, it was decided locally, but in accordance with directives from Moscow, that the housing shortage should be made up within twelve years. The focus was placed on apartment buildings as the most efficient use of resources to provide the proposed 12 square meters per inhabitant. One of the major projects of this campaign in Tallinn was the suburb of Mustamäe. According to plans drafted by Eesti Projekt in 1958, the area was to be organized in mikroraiony or microdistricts. These units were planned as primarily pedestrian zones where the inhabitants would be able to perform most of their daily activities without crossing a major road. Providing most day-to-day needs locally would, it was assumed, keep the inhabitants together and create a harmonious society.20 The size of the microdistricts was to depend on the size of the local school. The idea had been brought to the Soviet Union from French Modernism and American garden city planning and developed into a socialist concept by the Moscow central planning institute.

According to the initial project plan, mainly four and five-story buildings were to be built, surrounded by smaller buildings in areas with less suitable ground. Buildings were sparsely placed in the landscape, since the cost of land was not an issue, and arranged around intended centers where schools, kindergartens, shops, and cultural facilities were located. But the shortage of apartments and increasing immigration to Soviet Estonia from other parts of the Union led the authorities to revise the plan, increasing the density of the area by 40%. The finished suburb was ready to accommodate about 110,000 people. Four to five-story buildings predominated. Less attention was given to the local centers. In most of them, only the schools and kindergartens were built.21

From a social perspective, the new buildings were intended to offer modern homes of equal quality to all citizens regardless of social class. One objective that received particular attention was the right to live comfortably and with modern conveniences in both the city and the country. This objective found expression in multifamily dwellings for workers on collective farms, most of which were built using basic urban designs. In the planning and presentation of new construction work, considerable importance was attached to modern hygienic conveniences such as running water and indoor toilets. The primary benefactors of the new construction were the new socialist middle class of privileged male workers and the large numbers of immigrants from other Soviet republics who came to Estonia to work. However, construction in Soviet Estonia was proceeding too slowly to fulfill the needs of the population and the visions set out by the planners. The problems of overcrowding continued because apartments were very small and often still occupied by many families or generations of the same family.

Differences in Swedish
and Estonian housing policy

From the beginning of the 20th century, improving housing in Sweden was linked to the struggle for better health. This made it easier for individuals to accept encroachments into the private sphere and the increasingly widespread public regulation. Whether the issue was damp, moldy apartments or overcrowding, which could lead to contagion, mental problems, and prostitution — many experts thought that girls who lived in overcrowded homes would walk the streets to escape them and thus become easy targets for men, especially since the overcrowded homes had made them less shy — the goals were good health and healthy citizens. In the 1950s, experts discovered that the psychological milieu was important for health. As early as the 1930, this was stated in the official reports of the Bostadssociala utredningen (Social Housing Survey). That meant it was essential to build neighborhoods that would promote not just physical but also mental health.22

Here we find a difference from Estonia, where the vision of the good home was linked primarily not to health but to a more abstract goal: that of creating a classless society. This is explained by the fact that Soviet society was imbued with a more distinctly ideological rhetoric. In Sweden, the overarching goal — for the sake of both the individual and the collective — was public health: only healthy citizens could in the long run become good citizens.

One example of how the difference in goals could affect housing in practice is the different views on lodgers in the two countries. In Sweden, lodgers could be evicted as a threat to public health: their presence was believed to be an offense against the sound nuclear family, and lodgers were felt to cause overcrowding, which was bad for people’s health. Although there was an acute housing shortage in cities such as Stockholm long after the end of World War II, the numbers of lodgers and overcrowded apartments decreased. The effort to establish a policy of “one family per apartment” is evident even in housing plans drawn up before the war, which were conceived as single-family dwellings.

In Estonia, the lodger system remained in place. Here too, the housing shortage was acute, in spite of a sharp rise in housing construction. In Soviet Estonian housing designs, apartments with multiple entrances to rooms from halls and kitchens made it easier for two families to live in one apartment. The goal of a classless society was not threatened by the lodger system in the same way as the goal of public health was.

The vision in practice:
implementation and control

By the end of the 1940s, the municipal housing company Stockholmshem was building more and more dwellings. At the same time, it also hired more people. In 1950, 290 people worked for the company. Of that number, slightly more than 40 were supervisors, whose job was to supervise the estates and collect rent.23 In addition, the company hired part-time doormen who were responsible for locking the doors at night. Collecting rent was not the supervisors’ only important function, however: in some areas, beginning in the 1930s, they were given explicit instructions to teach the residents how to live right.

The supervisors exercised considerable direct power over the inhabitants. However, their work was also complemented by that of the municipal inspectors. In contrast to the supervisors, the inspectors could abstain from involvement in conflicts, since they represented neither the tenant nor the landlord.

In short, there were rules for how to build and how to live, and there were municipal inspectors and supervisors employed by the building owners who saw to it that the rules were obeyed. Furthermore, a form of social monitoring among the tenants built not only on the established rules but also on informal norms and concepts of appropriate behavior in apartment buildings.

Most interesting in this connection is the municipal monitoring agency, or housing inspection. The early prewar inspection, which was instituted in Stockholm in 1906, could condemn apartments that were too cold or otherwise deemed inferior.24 In the 1950s, inspectors could take action if the number of closets was inadequate — work clothes were to be kept separate from other clothes — or if there were too few halls, or the bathroom was being used to do laundry. The inspection was to ensure that those who lived in the most crowded conditions and under the worst circumstances would be given new dwellings. However, this was more easily said than done. New apartments were often unavailable. In other cases, private landlords stubbornly refused to renovate apartments as ordered by the inspector.

These were the foundations of Swedish housing regulation. The home was systematized as part of public life. At the same time, notions surrounding the definition of a home were transformed. On the one hand, the home was very private; on the other, it was visited continuously by various people who were not members of the household, but in one way or another part of the municipal civil service hierarchy: supervisors, district medical officers, doctors, and housing inspectors. One might also add that, even if the regulations were not intended to control only the lower classes, the bad housing conditions that the authorities wanted to change existed mainly among the poor or the working class. It was therefore de facto a class inspection, and one goal was of course to educate the working class to live right, which was to live more like the bourgeoisie. Girls and boys should not share rooms, for example; people should wash daily, and keep the private sphere clean and tidy.

The housing inspection answered to the board of public health, which meant that the inspectors could take the tenant’s side in conflicts with a landlord. Because of their independent status, the inspectors could criticize the property owners, and often did so. They even became a source of power for tenants in the struggle for better housing. In the early 1930s, both private landlords and the municipal housing company were seen as opponents of the tenants and the inspectors. This was a strategy applied by tenants in Stockholm. A number of cases handled by the housing inspection board were the result of complaints lodged by tenants about their own poor housing conditions. For instance, the inspectors could censure inferior construction firms and bad landlords and supervisors on the grounds of inadequate maintenance. They could also admonish tenants, but were less inclined to do so in day-to-day communications. In meetings, they often sided with tenants; however, in public reports, people were generally criticized for not living right. The idea was to deal with such deficiencies through information and education.

In Stockholm at least, the municipal housing inspectors operated relatively freely. A 1953 government report on the health services and housing standards of the future endeavored to define a sanitation problem: would faded wallpaper, for example, fall under this category? The answer was no. In certain situations, the investigators admitted, some people might suffer mentally from faded wallpaper, but that was not sufficient reason for the local housing inspectors to take action. The discussion reflects the improved housing standards. On the other hand, the report asserted, torn wallpaper and rugs and cracks in floorboards could be considered sanitation problems since they made cleaning more difficult. Cracks in the walls, the absence of a cozy atmosphere, drafty windows, mold, and dampness were also considered sanitation problems.25

A study of how housing inspection functioned in Stockholm after World War II sheds light on a practice that went far beyond the aspects mentioned here, even before the new law was passed. In Stockholm, inspectors intervened readily if an apartment had not been repapered for a long time, if the wallpaper was dirty, or if the home was dark and drafty.

The 1953 report, which was drafted with a view to updating the health service law that governed the inspectors’ work, also discussed the introduction of more stringent regulations regarding how people should live. The investigators were skeptical about introducing too many minimum-standard regulations. Even if it were possible to regulate the minimum size of a room, for example, the problem was more complicated. Floor area was not the only factor that determined whether a room was big enough for a certain number of people to inhabit; ventilation was also important. The investigators felt that it would be better to write recommendations and instructions that would clearly spell out the purpose of the regulations.26 The municipal housing inspectors would then check to see whether the instructions were being followed or not.

For the same reason, the investigators objected strongly to several rules on what constituted overcrowding. Several doctors studied the issue, but the investigators were skeptical. They argued that overcrowding could be left out of the planning, and would disappear if people received the right information about its dangers.27

Soviet Estonia’s system was essentially very similar to the Swedish system. Ideally, laws on building good housing would be passed centrally and apply equally throughout the Union. The local authorities would enforce the laws by reviewing plans and finished dwellings. This primary control was facilitated by the fact that most plans and drawings were made by a few Soviet Estonian firms, which had to adhere to all regulations and consider each building’s functions, the milieu, and hygiene. However, plans and drawings were subject to constant negotiation with the building firms, which had to take into account the quantity and quality of available building materials as well as the number and size of apartments they were expected to build according to the central plans. The building firms’ strength in these negotiations and the constant shortage of building materials caused a large discrepancy in function and quality between the plans and the finished dwellings. The completed or newly renovated dwellings were inspected by the local Elamu-heaolu komisjon (housing and welfare commission) before tenants were allowed to move in. The commissions consisted of inspectors and local representatives, but their work was also given legitimacy by the participation of doctors (or medical students) and engineers. It appears that the commissions were able to comment on the standards of apartments in both new and renovated buildings, and on public spaces, but in a society with a constant housing shortage, they never caused dwellings to be classified as unsuitable. There were also few or no follow-up inspections of the apartments after people had moved in. Responsibility for the daily inspection of a building rested with a local supervisor who in reality had very few opportunities to intervene because maintenance was guided more by central plans, if anything, than by need. The shortages often opened opportunities for corruption in which supervisors and other persons within the system benefited from their positions and the conditions. In contrast to Swedish practices, the focus of the inspections was on the building and its technical functions, not on the inhabitants or their use of the building.28 Complaints and appeals by tenants and the local residents’ groups that were formed by factory housing residents to exercise local influence should be seen as one of the Soviet system’s many legal safety valves for reducing tension rather than as an effective means of reporting deficiencies or bringing about improvements. Complaints about hygiene and sanitation in public spaces often led to public work by the inhabitants of an area or workers in an industrial plant, however, organized by the housing and well-being commission before commemorative dates such as May Day. Thus the home did not become the site of control in the same way as it did in Sweden, and encroachment on the individual’s day-to-day life occurred less frequently in Soviet Estonia than it did in Sweden, while at the same time ambitions to maintain good housing were kept low by the constant shortage in the sector.

In Sweden, the housing system was built up on the micro level with inspection and monitoring, and on the macro level with stringent nationwide laws and directives on how residential buildings should look. Regulation was intended to make people change voluntarily and to make them want to become the good citizens that the policy makers wanted to promote. To a great extent, the inspectors’ monitoring activities built on tenants’ complaints against neighbors and complaints about their own apartments. Here too there was a built-in social control with the incentive for tenants of keeping inspectors and informants away from their apartments.


The idea of the Swedish home was adopted by a number of people who wanted to improve society. Although the same ambition prevailed in Estonia, the country did not have the comprehensive monitoring system and insight into the home that Sweden had. In Sweden, municipal inspectors and others could be monitored and assisted by regional health service consultants. And residents could learn, more or less voluntarily, how to live and decorate through courses and training. Housing became a popular movement. At the national level, meanwhile, there were housing investigators, a housing department, a housing board, and a housing policy. The visions of good housing could be effectively realized because the home was “surrounded”.

Several important differences between Estonia and Sweden can be established. When the home was opened to the public sphere to such a high degree — opened to all kinds of experts — the risk of excesses and violations increased. This implies that the democratic state of Sweden was less concerned about the privacy of its citizens than the authoritarian state of Soviet Estonia.

The explanation has to do not only with the transformation and study of the home that existed to varying degrees in the two countries. The difference between Sweden and Estonia lies not in the visions — which were largely similar — but rather in the amount of resources that could be applied to their realization. Sweden was able to introduce a municipal monitoring authority. As the Swedish historian Ulla Ekström von Essen has demonstrated, the municipalities were the entities responsible for welfare.29 It is also worth observing that this municipal control, of which inspections were a part, had a long Swedish tradition. Home visits were already common occurrences at the turn of the 20th century — and not only in Sweden.30 And municipal self-government, with committees such as the board of public health run by laypersons, had been organized as early as the 19th century. An organization for monitoring homes was already in place. It was only a matter of inserting new functions into an existing system.

Moreover, there were a number of separate, distinct roles in Sweden. The inspectors hired by the municipality could direct their criticism to landlords, municipal housing corporations, and the tenants themselves. In Estonia, the local supervisors were part of the same system as the landlords and tenants. In Sweden, the controls worked and were accepted because the inspectors were on the side of the tenants, against the landlords and others who might work for the state.

In Estonia, motivation and visions were strong, but realization, follow-up, and control were not guided by the same objectives and did not produce the same results as they did in Sweden. Because implementation and control went together with good intentions in Sweden, what we may call the violation of the citizens’ private sphere was possible to a greater extent. However, this resulted in better and, more importantly, healthier homes. ≈


1  H. Arman, U. Kammal, M. Port, and A. Saar, Building and Architecture of Soviet Estonia 1940–1965 (Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1965), 29.

2 Sven Rolf, Die Konstruktion totalitärer Räume: Am Beispiel des Generalbebauungsplans für Berlin im Dritten Reich [Constructing totalitarian spaces: as exemplified in the master plan for Berlin in the Third Reich] (Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld, 2006), 17.

3 Alexei Gutnov et al., The Ideal Communist City (New York: George Braziller, 1968), 29ff; 51ff.

4  Augustine Idzelis, “Industrialization and Population Change in the Baltic Republics”, Lituanus 30 (1984), no. 2.

5 See e.g. Johan Rådberg, Doktrin och täthet i svenskt stadsbyggande 1875–1975 [Doctrine and density in Swedish urban planning 1875–1975] (dissertation, Stockholm, 1988), and Ulf Sandström, Arkitektur och social ingenjörskonst: Studier i svensk arkitektur och bostadsforskning  [Architecture and social engineering: Studies in Swedish architecture and housing research]  (dissertation, Linköping, 1989), 100–104, which also lists other studies. For a later example from the Swedish literature, see Lisbeth Söderqvist, Att gestalta välfärd: Från idé till byggd miljö  [Shaping welfare: From idea to built environment] (dissertation, Stockholm 2008).

6 Hans Wallenberg, Hyresvärlden [Rental World] (dissertation, Lund, 1994), 144.

7 Building standards were laid down by the housing board, and God Bostad [Good housing] was published in 1950, 1954, 1960, and 1964. In the last edition, the outdoor environment was also included as an important element of a good home. The brochure included guidelines on how to build on the available space, etc. In order to receive government subsidies, builders were obliged to follow these guidelines, and most did. See Sonja Vidén, “Rekordårens bostadsbyggande”, in Rekordåren: en epok i svenskt bostadsbyggande [Record years: an epoch in Swedish housing construction] (Karlskrona: Boverket, 1999), 32.

8 Eva Jacobsson, “Att planera framtiden: 1900-talets diskussioner om de bostadspolitiska vägvalen” [Designing the future: the 1900s discussions of housing policy choices], in Familjebostäder: Flera kapitel i svensk bostadspolitik [Family Housing: Several chapters in Swedish housing policy], ed. Ulrika Sax (Stockholm: Stockholmia, 2006), 51.

9 Kristian Berg, “Det stora bostadsbyggandet,” [The large housing development] in Rekordåren: en epok i svenskt bostadsbyggande [Record years: an epoch in Swedish housing construction] (Karlskrona: Boverket, 1999), 24–30.

10 Romuald Misiunas and Rein Taagepera, The Baltic States: Years of Dependence, 1940–1990 (London: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd, 1993), 112; 192.

11 Stephen Kotkin, Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization (Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1995).

12 Lynne Attwood, Gender and Housing in Soviet Russia: Private Life in a Public Space (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010), 69; Katerina Gerasimova, “Public Privacy in the Soviet Communal Apartment”, in Socialist Space: Sites of Everyday Life in the Eastern Bloc, ed. David Crowley & Susan E. Reid (Oxford: Berg, 2002), 212.

13 Mart Kalm, Eesti 20. Sajandi arhitektuur [Estonian 20th century architecture] (Tallinn: Prisma Prindi Kirjastus, 2002), 275; Estonian National Archives, ERA T-14.4–6.3146 (project plan, 1952).

14 Museum of Estonian Architecture, EAM 3.1.540.

15  John Sillince, ed., Housing Policies in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union (London: Routledge, 1990), 36ff.

16 Museum of Estonian Architecture, EAM 3.1.543.

17 Kalm, Eesti 20. Sajandi arhitektuur [Estonian 20th century architecture] (Tallinn: Prisma Prindi Kirjastus, 2002)  299 ff; 327.

18 V. Valdmaa, ed., Riiklik Projekteerimise Instituut “Eesti Projekt” 25-aastane [The State Planing Institute “Eesti Projekt”, 25 years later] (Tallinn: Valgus, 1969).

19 Estonian National Archives, ERA T-15.4–3.1136.

20 Estonian National Archives, ERA T-14.4–6.8540–43 (general plans, 1958); Georg D. Andrusz, Housing and Urban Development in the USSR (London: SUNY Press, 1984), 28.

21 Estonian National Archives, ERA T-14.4–6.8734, 8740, 8748 (detail and architectural plans); James H. Bater, The Soviet City: Ideal and Reality, (London: Edward Arnold, 1980), 10f.

22 See Mats Franzén and Eva Sandstedt, Grannskap och stadsplanering: Om stat och byggande i efterkrigstidens Sverige  [Neighborhood and urban planning: On the state and the construction of postwar Sweden] (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1981); iidem, “Boendets planering och vardagslivets organisering: kvinnan, familjen och bostaden” [The accommodation planning and organization of everyday life: the woman, the family and the home] in Kvinnovetenskaplig tidskrift [Journal of gender studies] (1982) no. 3, 8–9.

23 Ulrika Sax and Stig Dedering, “Till hyresgästernas bästa”: Stockholmshem under sju decennier [In the best interests of the tenants: Seven decades of Stockholmshem] (Stockholm: Stockholmia, 2007), 60–61.

24 Björkman, Jenny, “The Right to a Nice Home: Housing Inspection in 1930s Stockholm,” in Scandinavian Journal of History 37 (2012), no. 4, 461–481.

25 Förslag till hälsovårdsstadga m.m. [Draft for health care law] Statens offentliga utredningar [Government Research Office] (SOU) 1953:31, 73.

26  SOU 1953:31, 102.

27 SOU 1953:31, 105.

28  Estonian Historical Archives, Tartu, EAA 5311.128.71; Estonian National Archives, ERA r-2006.1.96.

29 See e.g. the final chapter of Ulla Ekström von Essen, Folkhemmets kommun: socialdemokratiska idéer om lokalsamhället 1939–1952 [Folkhemmets municipality: social democratic ideas of the local community 1939–1952], (dissertation, Stockholm, 2003).

30 See e.g. the discussion of home inspections by Signe and Axel Höjer in Annika Berg, Den gränslösa hälsan [Unlimited health] (dissertation, Uppsala, 2009).

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