Victor Sanz (Polytechnic University of Madrid / TU Delft) presented his research as part of the SPS Seminar Series on 12 May 2015. The topic of the talk was the following: “Planning a global network of industrial communities: The architecture and urbanism of the Bata Shoe Company industrial satellite cities.”

You can see a video from this extremely interesting talk below.


From its humble beginnings as a small workshop in 1874, the Bata Shoe Company became a gigantic industrial concern in the 1920s, built on the principles of scientific management and welfare capitalism. The growth of the company engulfed Zlín (Czech Republic), its hometown, and transformed it into a modern industrial garden city satisfying the needs of both a growing industrial population, and those of the company itself. As a reaction to the aftermath of the crisis of 1929, the enterprise began a strategy of decentralization and international expansion characterized by the design and construction of a series of modern industrial towns that replicated the model of Zlín around the globe (including The Netherlands).

This study is an exhaustive survey of these cities, their design, and their postindustrial conditions; it is a comparative work that has used field trips, photography, interviews, and archival material to explain the rationale behind Bata’s project, to document the design and implementation of the model to multiple contexts and geographies, and to evaluate of the urban legacy of this undertaking. With that, this research aims to explore the question of what can the design disciplines and other parties involved learn from a comprehensive assessment on the history and urbanism of the Bata satellite cities with regard to the re-imagination and sustainability of industry-sponsored interventions in developing countries today.


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