In the past, housing and homeownership have been used as media for social reform. This article looks at the socio-political agenda behind the birth of company towns and the role of architecture and urban design in shaping the social life of the inhabitants. The study examines Cité Ouvrière, a nineteenth-century mass factory settlement in Mulhouse (France), which provided workers with access to property. Through literature, archival, and design research, this article traces the incremental transformation of a uniform working-class housing scheme into an ethnically diverse and formally heterogeneous city quarter.

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