Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 4

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Twenty-five years of humanising post-socialist housing estates: From quantitative needs to qualitative requirements

Petr Šimáček, Zdeněk Szczyrba, Ivan Andráško, Josef Kunc

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 4, pp. 649-668
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0039

Abstract

After the fall of the Iron Curtain, CEE cities (as well as other cities in the former Socialist Bloc) experienced dynamic development in many areas. The presented article deals with one of the key areas of the post-socialist transformation of the city, specifically the humanisation of mass housing in large housing estates. These housing estates from the central planning period still dominate the skyline of many CEE towns. At the beginning of the 1990s, housing estates suffered from a number of shortcomings that needed to be put right within the frame of their humanisation. The paper analyses a more than two decade-long process of housing estate humanisation which gradually led to the replacement of the monofunctional (strictly residential) model with a multifunctional model. This leads to improvement of civic amenities, implementation of new urban-architectural solutions and the creation of new job opportunities. As a result, these changes increase the quality of life in housing estates, both from an objective and subjective point of view. Changes in the spatial, social, economic and physical structure of housing estates after 1989 will be analysed using examples from hierarchically different locations in the Czech Republic. The synthesis of findings will be supplemented with the results of empirical studies that were carried out by geographers, sociologists and urban planners.

Keywords: humanisation processes, postsocialistic housing estates, postsocialistic transformation, Central and Eastern Europe

Petr Šimáček, Masaryk University Kotlá ř ská 2, 611 37 Brno: Czech Republic
Zdeněk Szczyrba, Department of Geography Palacký University Olomouc 17. listopadu 12, 771 46 Olomouc: Czech Republic
Ivan Andráško, Masaryk University Kotlá ř ská 2, 611 37 Brno: Czech Republic
Josef Kunc, Department of Regional Economics and Administration Masaryk University Lipová 507/41a, 602 00 Brno: Czech Republic