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Challenges and urban heritage of the Bata's Company Towns in the 21st century
The Bata Company, which evolved from a small workshop in Zlin in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, today being part of the Czech Republic, at the end of the 19th century, became one of the best-known largest shoe producers in the world in the second half of the twentieth century. The company was not characterised by the unique organisational structure and implementation of disruptive innovations only. Also, it is connected with significant investments in the social life of its employees. Hence, Bata founded dozens of company towns around the globe during the 1930s and early 1940s of the twentieth century. They had original functionalist architecture, creating an unique landscape and following the modern ideas and practices in urban planning, in which workers’ accommodation at that time was above the average of their housing condition both in industrialised and industrialising countries. This ideal city model involved the creation of separate zones, i.e. production, entertainment and residential areas. Thus, the company erected premises such as schools, hospitals, cultural and sports facilities. Subsequently, assets of the Bata Company were nationalised in Central and Eastern European countries where the communist parties came to power after the Second World War. Nevertheless, the remaining production and retail facilities in Western Europe and North America became the core of the new global shoemaking empire, which spread over more than 110 countries. Finally, the Bata Company closed most of its factories in the developed countries due to globalisation and de-industrialisation processes. Thereby, these company towns lost their primary function together with all-territorial and social elements of the former paternalist system. Consequently, they have gone through a process of radical industrial and urban transformation. Nonetheless, some communities there consider their industrial and urban heritage as a fundamental feature of their identity, whereas others aim to erase their industrial past. From this perspective, a community’s industrial heritage and culture are a paradigmatic example of how the past may play a vital role in the processes of the Post-Fordist industrial and urban transformation in the company towns to retain their collective identity. Therefore, this special session aims to find answers to the following questions: What development trajectories can be identified in Bata’s company towns after the loss of their primary function? How have these towns been transformed, how their landscape evolved and how actors and stakeholders responded? What about those communities on their industrial heritage and identity? Which and how public policies tools and practices were implemented for the protection of that industrial heritage, its revitalisation, and exploiting in cultural tourism? Topics: 1) Foundation of Bata Company towns, planning and development during the 20th century; 2) Development trajectories and urban planning/smart governance of the Bata’s Company Towns; 3) Protection of the urban heritage and revitalization of the Bata’s Company Towns; 4) Tourism and urban heritage of the Bata’s Company Towns; 5) Living (in) ‘Bata’s Detroit’s’: urban utopia, society and urban heritage of the Bata’s Company Towns; 6) Industrial culture heritage, resilience and path dependency of the Bata’s Company Towns; 7) Developing creative cities with industrial culture heritage of the Bata’s Company Towns.
Chaired by Milan Balaban and Pavel Bednar

Is Industrial Heritage an Agent of Gentrification?
The proposed session will examine the unfolding relationship between industrial heritage and those left behind in adjoining deindustrialized working-class areas. The four papers seek to understand the socio-economic and political impact of recognizing the industrial past in the present. Two guiding questions will be asked. Can industrial heritage support those ‘left behind’ in deindustrialized areas where nothing, or very little, has filled the economic or cultural vacuum? Has industrial heritage served as an agent of gentrification, displacing long-time residents in adjoining neighbourhoods? And, if so, how can we imagine an industrial heritage that works for, rather than against, working people? The session draws together leading scholars from Europe, North America and Australia to consider these foundational political questions.
Chaired by Steven High

Industrie et formes urbaines : village-ouvrier, ville-usine, ville de compagnie, ville industrielle… Enjeux actuels et questions patrimoniales, approches croisées

L’activité industrielle est un puissant facteur de concentration de population. En témoignent les sites antiques ou médiévaux étudiés par les historiens, souvent proches des mines, des carrières ou des chantiers de construction. À partir du XVIIIe siècle, cependant, avec les premiers développements industriels, des liens forts se tissent entre les usines et diverses formes d’urbanisation. De la variété de rapports que construit l’industrie avec la ville ou, plus largement, avec les lieux d’habitation, on retiendra trois modèles principaux avec des implications différentes en matière de requalification urbaine fonctionnelle et symbolique, incluant la problématique patrimoniale et ses divers enjeux, notamment environnementaux.

1 – L’industrie a pu s’installer auprès de villes déjà existantes, profitant de la main d’œuvre, des qualifications et des infrastructures en place. Aux côtés de « beaux quartiers » induits par le développement économique, les usines et leurs annexes forment des faubourgs industriels, rattrapés par la croissance urbaine, relayés par les parcs d’activité périphériques, déterritorialisés et finalement inclus dans les problématiques du renouvellement urbain.

2 – L’industrie a aussi créé des villes de toutes pièces, les villes-usines ; parfois de façon très planifiée autour d’une seule grosse usine (les villes de compagnie caractéristiques du XXème siècle) ; parfois de façon beaucoup moins planifiée, rassemblant plusieurs systèmes industrialo-paternalistes et créant donc une ville au tissu particulièrement hétéroclite.

3- Le village industriel ou ouvrier peut apparaître comme une ville-usine en réduction. Il en a l’allure et la structure, mais pas la taille et la diversité des services. Il se caractérise par son ancienneté, la proximité d’une ressource énergétique ou minière et par un travail industriel effectué dans la totalité du processus, avec la mise en place d’une ingénierie sociale marquée.

Ces différentes unités aux agencements divers construisent des liens entre elles et avec les villes, notamment portuaires, formant des réseaux. Enfin, les héritages issus de ces configurations sont conséquents et posent, par leur densité, parfois leur isolement, de redoutables problèmes de mise en valeur, patrimoniale ou non.

Par rapport à cette typologie, plusieurs séries de questions se posent, chacune formant des pistes pour des interventions, dans une perspective généralement comparative :

* La première est à propos de la validité et la pertinence de ces modèles urbains eux-mêmes. Leur genèse, les conditions et contextes de leur implantation et de leur développement sont essentiels pour les comprendre, tout comme la prise en compte de leur porosité ou de leurs variations internationales. Il s’ensuit une incroyable variété de formes industrialo-urbaines, alors que le fonctionnement est, quant à lui, largement analogue. Comment bien cerner ces intrications et ces passages d’un modèle à l’autre ?

* La deuxième est dans l’urbanité même de ces modèles, très liée à leur fonctionnement hors du temps de travail. L’industrie crée, dès son implantation, un monde à part, aux comportements sociaux et aux modes de vie différents de ceux du monde rural, et cela quelques soient la taille et le nombre d’habitants de l’agglomération construite. Mais n’existe-t-il pas un gradient de l’urbanité, en lien avec des questions d’échelles et de temporalité ? Comment faire la différence entre le village ouvrier et la ville-usine ? À quel moment passe-t-on de l’un à l’autre ?

* La troisième piste touche à tous les éléments de reconnaissance, en matière de reconversion et de mise en valeur, de ces héritages. Entre négations et destructions, patrimoine-alibi, reconversions uniformes, etc., la mise en valeur patrimoniale ne dépend-elle pas de l’identité et du sentiment d’appartenance plus ou moins fort construits autour de ces formes industrialo-urbaines ? Dans quelle mesure la mise en valeur patrimoniale ne fait elle pas voler en éclat les caractères fondamentaux de l’héritage industriel ?
Chaired by Simon Edelblutte and Gracia Dorel-Ferré

Industry Rediscovered: Technical Knowledge as Critical to Understanding Industrial Sites in Eastern Canada

It is widely accepted that understanding a historic place is a critical first step to guide subsequent management and conservation. Industrial sites present a number of challenges as understanding their form, function, design, boundaries, and conservation often requires a high degree of technical expertise and experience. In Canada, gaining this expertise and information sharing is hampered by a limited number of institutions offering training in industrial archaeology and the lack of a national professional and avocational organization. Additionally, legislation to protect and conserve heritage properties is inconsistent across the provinces and territories, and land-use planning will sometimes fail to appreciate the scale of industrial sites or their capacity for adaptive re-use. To address these challenges, this session will bring together industrial archaeologists and heritage planners from across eastern Canada to reflect on the importance of resource-specific technical knowledge, as well as best practice approaches for conserving and interpreting industrial heritage.
Chaired by Henry Cary

The acceptance and belonging of Industrial Heritage and Tourism in Central and Eastern Europe

According to Rodney Harrison, “in the spirit of greater cross-disciplinary engagement, there is […] a pressing need to pay more attention to non-anglophone (and, indeed, non-Western) heritage literatures, histories and traditions” (2013: xiii), when we deal with critical approaches to heritage. This need is even greater when the scientific research focuses on countries such as Romania, Czechia, Bulgaria or Poland where Industrial Heritage, for example, is ignored and where the mechanism and policies of categorization, safeguarding, and management are lacking. There are several reasons for this: 1) the association of industrial sites with totalitarian regimes that formed this European region during almost half of the 20th century, 2) a decrease in prestige and social status of working-class and industrial towns after the fall of the political regimes in the1990s, 3) the monopoly held by the “noble” heritages that still shape the local discourses, the heritage practices and policies, and

4) the conflict between environmental issues and heritage assessment. However, regardless of the path we take in this part of Europe, we realize how much landscapes, practices, identities and everyday life have been fashioned and continue to be fashioned by the industrial era. The industrial heritage is exploited as a tourism resource in western countries, in both urban and rural areas, either through interpretive tours of preserved sites, or by restoring the existing ruins for a new type of tourism experience such as creative tourism. According to Xie (2006), industrial heritage tourism is becoming a socioeconomic phenomenon. The situation is slightly different in Central and Eastern (CE) Europe, where only in recent decades have industrial sites become of interest to artist communities or tourism organizations.  

The main purpose of this session is to present and examine the different meanings of industrial heritage in Central and Eastern Europe in the light of changing cultural practices, policies and preservation and to what extent it is used for the rejuvenation of communities through tourism or other activities. How is and how was Industrial Heritage perceived in this European region? How do neighborhoods and heritage communities connect with Industrial Heritage when the working-class identity is being radically redefined? What are the specific challenges of Industrial Heritage knowledge and policies in CE Europe? What are the best methods and practices to employ beyond merely preservation in order to create or reinforce individual, and community interest in modern towns, as well as industrial buildings and landscapes? Does industrial tourism contribute in the CE Europe to the ”cultural enrichment and rejuvenation” of some destinations as Forga and Valiente (2015) have suggested?  

We will look to various disciplines including ethnology, tourism studies, memory studies, museology, architecture, urban studies, sociology, and cultural management to answer these questions. This session is a way to find a path towards theoretical and practical knowledge of Industrial Heritage at the margins, and to challenge and enrich the field of Heritage studies which has been developed primarily by Central and Western experts and institutions.

Chaired by Daniela Moisa and Carmen Emilia Chasovschi