Dolores Hayden : A Feminist Critique Of Architecture And Urban History
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Dolores Hayden is a professor of architecture and urban history, who’s 1980 essay What Would a Non-Sexist City Be Like? re-imagined the relationship between the suburb and the city. Hayden’s work formed a significant feminist critique of the modern day challenges facing women who had to balance varied responsibilities and navigate inadequately planned cities. Her vision of new urban communities beneficial to women’s activities became a response to the shortcomings of capitalist and patriarchal planning conventions. Her design proposals taook influence from the communitarian and socialist architecture she had researched for her 1976 publication Seven American Utopias.
Hayden’s experimental HOMES project sought to combat gendered limitations and alter the boundaries between public and private space, advocating for communal domestic spaces, shared childcare and social cooperation. The scheme re-interpreted existing suburban neighbourhoods by disrupting divisions between the private dwelling and the workplace. Working from a socialist feminist perspective Hayden believed that the project’s habitation and operation should represent varied family structures and subvert unbalanced gender roles, with paid work and domestic responsibilities to be shared equally.
The gendered division of domestic labour later formed the topic of her 1981 publication, The Grand Domestic Revolution, which provides further research into the history of domestic and communal space.