- INTRODUCTION: ALTERED URBAN LANDSCAPES: EUROPEAN CITIES IN TRANSITION
- Authors: Olga Medvedkov; Joseph Salukvadze
Pages: 287 - 288
- INFORMALITY AND LAND DEVELOPMENT IN ALBANIA: LAND REFORMS AND
SOCIOECONOMIC DYNAMICS IN A COASTAL SETTLEMENT
- Authors: Loukas Triantis; Fereniki Vatavali
Pages: 289 - 303
Abstract: Informality is a significant aspect of the recent processes of land development, which has attracted the interest of academics and policy-makers, in the context of the crucial role that land has acquired for the global economy and the prevalent trends of capitalist activity. A wide variety of reforms and policies for dealing with informality have been adopted in many countries worldwide, often under the guidance of supranational organisations, though with contradictory impacts.The objective of this article is the critical appraisal of informality in land development processes in Albania, a former socialist country in “transition”, by exploring links with land reforms and socioeconomic dynamics, as well as the interaction of various actors from the global to the local level. We argue that, through multiple synergies and conflicts, informal practices serve a wide variety of interests, while informality in itself, as well as the policies for controlling it, may also lead to the intensification of socio-spatial inequalities and exclusionsOur approach is based on the analysis of the land development processes in the coastal settlement of Jal as a case study. The article focuses on an incident of demolitions of informal constructions in Jal in 2007, which was associated with a World Bank's development project, as well as on the land development dynamics prior to and after this incident. We employed a mixed-method approach, based on qualitative tools, which combined fieldwork in Jal, semi-structured interviews in Jal, Tirana and Athens, evaluation of land reforms and review of official reports and articles in the local and national press.
- SHRINKING CITIES IN POST-SOCIALIST EUROPE: WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THEIR
ANALYSIS FOR THEORY BUILDING TODAY?
- Authors: Annegret Haase; Dieter Rink, Katrin Grossmann
Pages: 305 - 319
Abstract: In the final decades of the twentieth century, the post-industrial regions of western Europe and the US were hot-spots of urban shrinkage, and this also affected large areas in post-socialist countries. Despite ongoing calls for a better integration of diverse global urban experiences into theorization, post-socialist cities and their trajectories, as well as their experiences with rapid urban change, have been largely disregarded in general theory development.At the same time, we face a somewhat inconsistent situation in the theoretical discourse on urban development. There are requests for “new geographies of theory” or to regard all cities as “ordinary”, in order to include different types of narratives and experience into overall comparisons and/or theory building.Set against this background, this paper aims to deal with the case of shrinking post-socialist cities, that is, cities that are “excluded” from hegemonic discourses for two reasons: they are post-socialist and they are shrinking. In contrast to this situation, we understand shrinking post-socialist cities as valuable examples for strengthening the debate on current and future forms of, and determining factors for, general urbanization. At the focus of our paper, therefore, are the questions about what we can learn from the analysis of shrinking post-socialist cities for the general discourse, as well as for theory building for cities, and how we can overcome the observed reluctance to integrate the post-socialist experience into general theory development.The paper draws on an EU 7 FP research project finished in 2012 that comparatively analysed urban shrinkage across several regions of Europe, with a particular focus on post-socialist countries.
- (POST) COLONIAL ENCOUNTERS IN THE POSTSOCIALIST CITY: RESHAPING URBAN
SPACE IN SARAJEVO
- Authors: Gruia Badescu
Pages: 321 - 329
Abstract: This article argues that postcolonial lenses can be useful in understanding postsocialism in particular urban situations, examining the postsocialist city of Sarajevo as an arena of postcolonial practices, processes and relationships. The city discussed, Sarajevo, provides a rich example of entanglements and relationships, both historical and of more recent origin. The article discusses with a postcolonial lens processes of urban reconstruction, specific to Sarajevo as a “post-conflict city”, but focuses on later urban development patterns, which in fact echo the general trends of postsocialist urban transitions in the broader region. As such, the article aims to unpack how the flows of capital reflect a postcolonial configuration of relationships between local elites, international actors and urban space. The case of Turkish investments reflects an increasing re-forging of ties between the metropole and the former province of the Ottoman Empire. New relationships also emerge, but with similar dynamics – the cases of Saudi investment and the construction of the US Embassy are explored to highlight the role of the local elites. The article argues that the postcolonial lens is useful to explore the relationship between the local elites and international capital in postsocialist cities, highlighting processes, practices, and relationships that are complementary to political economy-based urban geographies.
- RESIDENTIAL SATISFACTION AND INTENTION TO MOVE: THE CASE OF PRAGUE'S NEW
- Authors: Petra Špačková; Nina Dvořáková, Martina Tobrmanová
Pages: 331 - 348
Abstract: Suburbanization has been a particularly significant process in transforming the metropolitan regions in Central and East European countries in the past two decades. Many critics emphasize the negative consequences of suburbanization, such as a low level of residential environment quality, and some of them anticipate that suburbanites' expectations would remain unfulfilled. Moreover, a growing body of literature describes the tendency for reurbanization and discusses the importance of back-to-the city moves. Few authors, however, have paid attention to the empirical evidence of the residential stability of suburban areas. Therefore, this paper seeks to investigate the relationship between the quality of the suburban environment, the everyday life experiences associated with suburbia, and reurbanization tendencies. Various aspects of residential satisfaction and intentions to move in the medium term were analysed using data from a questionnaire survey which was carried out in three case study sites within Prague's hinterland. In addition, major differences between groups of potential “stayers” and “movers” were examined to reveal key factors which lie behind intentions to move from current suburban homes. The results suggested a relatively high degree of stability and a reasonable overall satisfaction of new suburbanites with their residential environment. They also indicated that trigger moments in the decision-making process were more closely related to the changing needs of households than the wider residential environment. Based on the research results, we were able to hypothesize that (1) a strong out-migration from the suburban zone is rather unlikely in the near future, and (2) only a small proportion of new suburbanites are likely to engage in the reurbanization process.
- NEIGHBOURHOOD TRAJECTORIES IN THE INNER CITIES OF PRAGUE AND TALLINN: WHAT
AFFECTS THE SPEED OF SOCIAL AND DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE?
- Authors: Jana Temelová; Jakub Novák, Anneli Kährik, Tiit Tammaru
Pages: 349 - 366
Abstract: This paper explores neighbourhood trajectories in the inner cities in terms of social and demographic change in a comparative perspective, and analyses the role of in situ change and residential mobility in this change. The research is based on a quantitative census-based study of Prague (the Czech Republic) and Tallinn (Estonia) at a detailed neighbourhood level. The study shows that in spite of many political and historical similarities, the differences in local regulatory mechanisms and local contexts have led to different urban outcomes. Institutional rigidity and long-term resistance to adjusting physical structures to a new social system have restrained change in Prague. The inner city of Tallinn has experienced much more social restructuring, replacements and displacements. High home-ownership rates, early rent de-regulation and no major public involvement in housing all contribute to the market-led urban change in Tallinn.
- WHOSE CITY? KYIV AND ITS RIVER AFTER SOCIALISM
- Authors: Roman Adrian Cybriwsky
Pages: 367 - 379
Abstract: This article looks at changing land use along the banks of the Dnipro River (formerly Dnieper River) in Kyiv, Ukraine (formerly Kiev) as an example of rising social inequality since the collapse of Soviet socialism. A working assumption is that tangible symbols of power and privilege such as lavish private housing and land development for profit are more evident in post-socialist society than they were during Communism, and that the amenity-rich river zone in the center of Kyiv is ripe for gentrification of beaches, parks, and high hills with river views. The research is based on detailed field work along the Dnipro and study of maps and air photographs. Our data indicate that prime space along the river is being appropriated by private interests for profit or personal use, often without respect to environmental considerations, treasured historic landscapes, and the rule of land use law. In this way, the historic character of Kyiv is being eroded, and public access to the river and its resources is reduced.