Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Challenging the Master Narrative on Large-Scale Social Estates: Exploring Counterstories Through Digital Storytelling

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Abstract:  The challenging and reframing of dominant narratives have been recognized as crucial to the regeneration of stigmatized areas. This article builds upon a digital storytelling process in the social estate of Peterbos, Brussels, to investigate how the counterstories of inhabitants challenge the “master narrative.” The counterstories foreground the spatial agency of tenants, the (dis)enabling role of space, and the difficult relationship with social housing companies. The article concludes that counterstories not only reveal dominant spatial imaginaries about high-rise estates but also have the potential to foster a more situated and experiential understanding of the relationship between people and space. However, it is important to note that digital storytelling is not a substitute for inclusive planning. Critical engagement with ongoing planning processes remains crucial.

Keywords:  counterstories; digital storytelling; inclusive planning; social housing



© Younes Rifaad, Nele Aernouts. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.