This piece was first published in Planning 21 July 1989 and is reproduced by kind permission of Haymarket Publications. Because it ran over 2 pages it has to be reproduced here as two separate items
The "Diary" tells of a week spent in meetings with planners in what was then Czechoslovakia. It was written just a few months before the Velvet Revolution in November 1989 which swept away the communist regime. The diary provides a first hand account of the tribulations of day to day life at the time which undermined the regime. It also shows how planners were working in the strange period of reform under perestroika led by Gorbachov and pressed on a reluctant Czechoslovak administration.
Věra Chytilová's film Panelstory is essential viewing for planners and housing professionals. Made in what was then Czechoslovakia in 1979, it shows residents (not) adjusting to life in a new high rise estate. While the prefabricated panels are swung by huge cranes through space against a blue sky, on the ground women struggle to push prams and buggies through the mud on their way to join the queue at the clinic.