Erik Chavkin introduces Susan Nelson, who in turn introduces Dolores Hayden.
Dolores Hayden describes how her search for an architecture at the GSD in the 1960s and 1970s based on equality and public participation led to the discovery of a forgotten heritage of feminist revisions of domestic life in Cambridge a century earlier. Hayden reviews radical proposals of what she terms “material feminism,” including Melusina Fay Pierce’s Cooperative Housekeeping Association (1869), Mary Livermore’s neighborhood dining clubs, Ellen Swallow Richards’s scientifically-informed Rumford Kitchen (1893), and the kitchenless houses of Alice Constance Austin, and the Stockholm Collective House (1935) by Sven Markelius and Alva Myrdal. These ideas were marginalized or erased by the building industry and U.S. government policy in the decades before World War II.
Hayden argues that the single family home developments encouraged by the Federal Housing Administration and other government policies after World War II were explicitly racist, sexist, and ideologically compromised. Subsequent feminist and environmental critiques of suburbia–and proposes to fix it–strike Hayden as mostly inadequate.
Though Hayden considers most alternatives to suburbia proposed problematic, she notes four conspicuous successes: the Tinggarden cohousing development in Denmark (Tegnestuen Vandkunsten, 1978), Hubertus house for single mothers (Aldo van Eyck, 1959), and two recent conversions of 19th century Massachusetts houses into homes for seniors with shared facilities–one in Cambridge by Gwen Rønø (1982), and one in Hyannis by Barry Korobkin (1981). Hayden discusses some of the current challenges, stressing efforts by women to reclaim public space.
Hayden responds to comments from the audience on automobiles, child care, public policy, technology, manufactured housing, and community activism.