The Mapping Public Housing investigation project (MdH), based at the University of Porto, Faculty of Architecture, Centre for Studies in Architecture and Urbanism, is building a database of State-subsidized residential architecture in Portugal designed between 1910 and 1974. An ongoing survey of laws directly or indirectly influencing housing construction, and of their concretization, allows for a reading of the influence of the State in housing architecture. This paper will focus on two scopes of segregation through housing design in the Portuguese 20th century, both in private initiatives—the “Ilhas”, low rent housing built in the backyards of Porto in the first half of the century—and in public investments—using the example of the “Affordable Houses”, a housing programme created by the Portuguese dictatorial regime in 1933 in which the buyers of the houses were subjected to surveillance by the State. An ongoing context of market pressure caused by speculative real estate investing and mass tourism, suggests an evolution of the original processes of segregation into systems of gentrification, transforming the cultural and social fabric.
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