chapter  9
21 Pages

Shaping the Housing of Industrialists and Workers: The Textile Settlements of Księży Młyn (Łódź) and Żyrardów in Poland

ByMarek Koter, Mariusz Kulesza

The impact of the Industrial Revolution on the form of cities was rarely orderly or coherent. It created entirely new urban places and profoundly transformed existing ones. It accelerated change, boosted or retarded urban growth by its geographical selectivity, and brought with it unprecedented construction forms and spatial configurations of land use. At the same time, it introduced entirely new actors to the urban drama and upended traditional types and combinations of agency in the production and management of urban form. This chapter will explore these themes in the context of a particular industry (the manufacture of textiles), in a particular regional setting (Poland), and during a particularly hectic historical epoch (the nineteenth century). It will demonstrate the interplay of forces that transformed the morphological character of Łódź, now the nation’s secondlargest city, and how that paralleled but also differed from that of Żyrardów, a new textile town between Warsaw and Łódź. Although archival data allowing the accurate attribution of individual buildings and urban layouts to specific architects and engineers is often missing, the influence of national industrial policy and the development of “industrial empires” by powerful individuals and families are especially significant factors.