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        • Metropolitanism and the Welfare City
          Hjalmar Mehr and the Stockholm Kulturhus

        Abstract
        Local politicians have long played a pivotal role in the construction of urban building devoted to culture,  and they also figure prominently in the post-war reconstruction campaigns in cities across Western Europe and in the realization of public buildings that invariably appeared in the new or re-built town centres. As national governments created the legal and financial frameworks of the welfare system, city councils and their leaders took the responsibility for concrete arrangements and for building schools, hospitals or housing. This article retraces the history of the post-war reconstruction of Stockholm’s inner city and the building of a new cultural centre through a study of Hjalmar Mehr, the most powerful Stockholm politician of the period and, arguably, one of the most effective local politicians in post-war Europe. In his various roles of councillor for social, financial and estate development, Mehr pressured his fellow Social Democrats to support the party line of a radical modernization of the city centre. The main public building that resulted from Mehr’s initiative, the Kulturhus, is described as the testament of a politician whose longing for a modern metropolis and a modern society played a crucial role in the radical reshaping of the landscape of a European capital. The building is shown to epitomize the agenda of the welfare state, based on Enlightenment thinking, acquiring an emblematic status for the new welfare city and a better, more just society.
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        Citation
        Grafe, C. (2010). Metropolitanism and the Welfare City. Hjalmar Mehr and the Stockholm Kulturhus. Commissioning Architecture, OASE, (83), 83–91. Retrieved from https://oasejournal.nl/en/Issues/83/MetropolitanismAndTheWelfareCity

        Download PDF (455 KB)

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