Beyond the Company: Intended and Unintended Legacies of Modern Industrial Urban Planning and Design. The Case of the Bata Shoe Company Satellite Towns (1929-2015)

Victor Muñoz Sanz
Between 1929 and 1945, the architects of the Bata Shoe Company in Zlín (Czech Republic), planned, and built, partially or in full, more than twenty modern industrial cities in Europe, Asia, and America. These towns were part of a corporate strategy of decentralization targeted at coping with the turbulences preceding World War II. The planning of those communities both reflected the company's managerial system and welfare capitalism, and mirrored contemporary debates in town planning—Garden
more » ... , modernism, and Soviet linear planning. After World War II, the network of cities was separated by the Iron Curtain. From 1945 onwards, and beyond the company's influence, these towns have been exposed to a multitude of realities that have altered their planned lives. However, a comparative assessment of their post-war development has not been made. This paper looks at the resiliency of Bata's modern physical and community planning model to diverse social, economic, and political changes, in three continents. Based on extended fieldwork, it presents three case studies of Bata towns in transformation today—Batanagar, India; Batawa, Canada; and Borovina, Czech Republic. The study shows a series of intended and unintended legacies of their original planning that still determine the current development of those communities.
doi:10.7480/iphs.2016.3.1251 fatcat:co2c6tyf3zdttdrm524dnwfxga