International convention “Worker towns and factory cities”

The academic gathering on workers’ housing will be held from 4 to 6 October in Terrassa

The National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia (mNACTEC) is organizing the international convention “Worker towns and factory cities” from the 4 to 6 October in Terrassa. The aim of this academic gathering is to examine the issue of workers’ accommodation and draw up a comprehensive inventory and state of the art of the surviving examples and accounts from the centuries of industrialization.

The congress is organized by the mNACTEC, with the collaboration of the International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH), the Association for the industrial heritage of Champagne-Ardenne Grand Est (APIC) and the Association for the Defence of the Heritage of the Sedó Colony and its surroundings.

Registration for the Convention is open until 25 September at


Contents of the convention

The presentations will examine different themes: workers’ housing; periodization; diversity and the different types of workers’ towns; the morphology and organization of spaces; the organization of everyday spaces as reflections of working conditions; and heritage mediation and proposals.

The convention will go beyond the fieldwork to incorporate other disciplines such as history of sciences and technology, sociology, architecture, urbanism and economic and social history.

Specialists in the field from Spain, France, Russia, Argentina, Chile, Canada, Hungary and Mexico will be presenting their papers at the convention. Topics examined will include worker accommodation in France; factory cities in the Urals; the urban planning of factory cities; the factory city as a global performance strategy; the worker camps of the nitrate industry in the Atacama desert; and the railway cities of the world.

In addition to the talks, around thirty communications will be presented by specialists in the field of industrial heritage.



Prior to this international convention, the mNACTEC already organized two conferences on on workers’ housing: Jornades sobre l’habitatge obrer a Catalunya [Conference on worker housing in Catalonia] (2002) and Congrés sobre l’habitatge obrer i les colònies industrials a la Península Ibèrica [Congress on worker housing and industrial colonies in the Iberian Peninsula] (2005). The proceedings from both these congresses were edited and published jointly by the mNACTEC in 2008.

After these congresses, several works were published and events organized on this theme, especially by TICCIH. This is the case of “De la vivienda obrera a la vivienda de protección oficial”, organized by TICCIH-Spain in 2014, in Parla (Madrid), and a publication in French, Villages ouvriers et villes-usines à travers le monde, a collective work which includes 250 examples of worker towns from around the world, published by APIC and Université de Savoie-Mont Blanc, in 2016.

Further information

Web for the Convention “Worker towns and factory cities”

press-clock 4 October 2018