Chapter

Sprawling Sofia: Post-socialist Suburban Growth in the Bulgarian Capital

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

This chapter presents the evolution of the suburban periphery of the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. It shows that the intense suburbanization processes that Sofia has recently experienced fit well into the broader context of postsocialist spatial restructuring - a phenomenon observed in other large East European urban centers. The chapter also highlights that Sofia's context exhibits some specificity in both historical and geographic terms. It focuses on the social and environmental impacts of suburbanization. The chapter explains the startling lack of urban planning mechanisms for confronting the consequences of suburban sprawl in the Bulgarian capital. An overview of the impact of suburbanization in the metropolitan area of Sofia reveals an assortment of the classic economic, social, and environmental issues extensively covered in the large body of literature on urban sprawl that has accumulated during the last couple of decades throughout the world.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Sofia's housing market followed the outlined mix of privatisation and reduced or abolished housing subsidies. Dilapidation of large parts of the housing stock is one of the most visible outcomes (Stanilov and Hirt 2014) as coherent and adequate long-term housing policies were missing as well. Additionally, social housing construction or programmes for public social housing have not been introduced (Dandolova 2014). ...
... The former system of state-financed housing was abolished. Mortgage systems barely existed (Stanilov and Hirt 2014). Housing finance collapsed at the same time as foreign capital investment was low and private households struggled with economic and institutional instability. ...
... In 2004, a special law for large-scale investors was introduced that provided quick project approval procedures as well as public subsidies (see chapter 3.1.3). Consequently, Sofia experienced a mushrooming of shopping centres by large-scale investors in a very short period of time (Stanilov and Hirt 2014). ...
... Numerous studies brought evidence that in many cities in Central and Eastern Europe, strong centralization trends were substituted with suburbanisation starting from the 1990s in the post-socialist countries (e.g. Sýkora and Čermák 1998;Kok and Kovács 1999;Brown and Schafft, 2002;Ouředníček 2005Ouředníček , 2007Hirt 2007;Sýkora and Novák, 2007;Raźniak and Winiarczyk-Raźniak, 2013;Stanilov and Hirt, 2014;Sýkora and Mulícek, 2014;Kovács and Tosics, 2014;Gałka and Warych-Juras, 2018) and from the 1990s-2000s in post-Soviet countries like Estonia, Latvia, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine (Kostinskiy 2001;Leetmaa and Tammaru, 2007;Leetmaa, 2008;Brade et al. 2010;Krisjane and Berzins, 2012;Mezentsev et al., 2014;Brade et al. 2014;Nefedova et al., 2016;Mezentsev and Mezentseva 2017;Gnatiuk 2018). Although such a shift is predicted by the SUD model, the underlying mechanism of suburban growth in post-socialist cities is different from classical Western suburbanization (e.g. ...
... Unlike the post-socialist metropolises of the Central Europe, which experienced absolute decentralization in the 1990s -early 2000s (Lisowski, 2005;Sýkora and Posová, 2011;Novotný, 2012), in particular accelerated growth of the suburban areas (Pichler-Milanović, 2014;Kovács and Tosics, 2014;Sýkora and Mulícek, 2014;Stanilov and Hirt, 2014;Leetmaa et al., 2014), a stable centralization is observed in the KFUR until the beginning of 2010s. According to the available data, Kyiv retained positive values of the net migration not only for the period of 2003-2019 (on which this study is based), but also in the previous period of 1991-2001, except for 1994 and 1996, when the values were negative and zero, respectively. ...
Article
Full-text available
Despite being one of the most influential paradigms of urban studies, the stages of urban development model have been criticised for inability to describe and explain the urban evolution in specific economic, social and political conditions. In particular this refers to the post-socialist world. This paper presents the study of migration patterns in Kyiv functional urban region (KFUR) using the stages urban development model and the alternative approach by Sýkora and Posová (2011) derived from the original model. In this way, the paper intends to evaluate the existing methodology and to make the comparative assessment of the results. The results show that both approaches may be used for classifying urban regions in terms of growth/decline and centralization/decentralization. At the same time, they have limited potential to predict the future development of the post-Soviet urban regions. Despite the presence of common trends, revealed migration patterns in the KFUR substantially differ from the patterns of urban evolution in the post-socialist countries of the Central Europe due to specific social, economic and political conditions in the post-Soviet space.
... Nevertheless, the problems associated with car dominance remain acute (Barnfield 2017). They have been exacerbated through the addition of more and more residential and office developments along the city limits, often without adequate infrastructure for cycling and walking, nor sufficient public transport services (Stanilov and Hirt 2014). While commuter stress is unlikely in itself to be the cause of the modal shift, because of the range of constraints commuters experience, understanding it is key to planning context-appropriate interventions for improving urban mobility. ...
... Although the share of respondents who indicated the private car as a typical commuting mode was the highest, at 54%, the share of respondents regularly using public transport was also above 50%, and over 19% of respondents indicated that they typically walked to work. These findings reflect the particularities of Sofia's spatial form and development as a relatively dense, multimodal, and mixed-use city (Stanilov and Hirt 2014;Hirt 2007). The share of respondents reporting cycling to work, at 10%, was high compared to city-level statistics on the modal share of cycling (1.8% in 2017; Vision for Sofia 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
Several studies have argued that the effects of commuter stress spill into other domains of everyday life, including the workplace. However, the entanglements between commuter stress and the workplace are complex and multidirectional. Commuter stresses both shapes and is shaped by managerial policies, workplace social relations, and the negotiations of working schedules. The present paper explores these interconnections. Drawing on a survey of 281 office-based employees in 27 companies in Sofia, Bulgaria, the paper demonstrates how the characteristics of individuals and individual journeys are important in shaping commuter stress but not exclusively so. In examining the significance of the workplace in relation to commuter stress, the paper differentiates between the geographical location of the workplace and the employing organisation, thus offering a granular understanding of spatial (e.g., the quality of the public spaces surrounding the office) and organisational (e.g., managerial decisions regarding parking) factors. The paper highlights the social and spatial constraints within which commutes are carried out, thus emphasising the role of employers and local government in what is often understood in terms of individual travel choices.
... The authors focused on identifying the driving force and the consequences of two opposing processes: socialist-forced urbanization vs. postsocialist chaotic urbanization developing across the national urban landscape [29]. The intensive suburbanization processes are evaluated using the example of the Bulgarian capital, pointing to the peripheral growth of the city of Sofia and including economic factors as one of the important factors of suburban development in this area [10]. ...
... 10.00 ha and more; (2) 1.00-9.99 ha; (3) 0.01-0.99 ...
Article
Full-text available
Suburbanization, as a set of several factors, influences and changes the landscape structure of smaller municipalities in the hinterland of larger cities. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the built-up areas related to suburbanization within three time horizons—in 2002, 2005, and 2020—in 62 municipalities of the district (including two cities, Nitra and Vráble). This study examines the process of spatial changes in landscape features (residential, industrial, agricultural, transport) related to suburbanization between 2002 and 2005 and between 2002 and 2020. The input analytical data were digital orthophotomaps from 2002 and 2005 and the current orthophotomosaics of the Slovak Republic from 2017 (GKÚ, Bratislava), updated for the year 2020 using Sentinel 2 satellite image data (European Space Agency). The impact of suburbanization processes between 2002 and 2005 did not reach the dimensions of the changes that occurred due to suburbanization processes between 2002 and 2020 or 2005 and 2020. The main research objective of the article is the identification and assessment of these changes. We determined which landscape features related to suburbanization affected spatial changes in municipalities of the district Nitra. The total area affected by one of the suburbanization processes monitored by us reached 92.52 ha in the period between 2002 and 2005. Between the years 2002 and 2020, the area reached a total of 2272.82 ha, which is an increase of 2180.30 ha in 2020 compared to 2002. This included mainly the expansion of settlements or housing (60.15%), industrial areas (29.31%), transport facilities (4.35%), agricultural areas (0.73%), and other areas (5.46%). These results show expanding suburbanization for the period from 2002 to 2020 and that this process has been gaining momentum in the municipalities of the Nitra district, especially in recent years, which changes the look of rural municipalities and the character of a typical rural landscape.
... The large amount of greenfield land and its lower costs, as compared with the capital, are considered the main attractive factors for establishing new developments [111]. Moreover, the preferences for the open space adjacent to large cities is common in CEE countries [5,53,63], fostered by the interest of local authorities to increase their budget revenues [68]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Assessing the relentless expansion of built-up areas is one of the most important tasks for achieving sustainable planning and supporting decision-making on the regional and local level. In this context, techniques based on remote sensing can play a crucial role in monitoring the fast rhythm of urban growth, allowing the regular appraisal of territorial dynamics. The main aim of the study is to evaluate, in a multi-scalar perspective, the built-up area expansion and the spatio–temporal changes in Ilfov County, which overlaps the surroundings of Bucharest, capital of Romania. Our research focuses on processing multi-date Landsat satellite imagery from three selected time references (2000, 2008, 2018) through the supervised classification process. Further on, the types of built-up area dynamics are explored using LDTtool, a landscape metrics instrument. The results reveal massive territorial restructuring in the 18 years, as the new built-up developments occupy a larger area than the settlements’ surface in 2000. The rhythm of the transformations also changed over time, denoting a significant acceleration after 2008, when 75% of the new development occurred. At the regional level, the spatial pattern has become more and more complex, in a patchwork of spatial arrangements characterized by the proliferation of low density areas interspersed with clusters of high density developments and undeveloped land. At the local level, a comparative assessment of the administrative territorial units’ pathway was conducted based on the annual growth of built-up areas, highlighting the most attractive places and the main territorial directions of development. In terms of the specific dynamics of built-up areas, the main change patterns are “F—NP increment by gain”, followed by “G—Aggregation by gain”, both comprising around 80% of the total number of cells. The first type was prevalent in the first period (2000–2008), while the second is identified only after 2008, when it became the most represented, followed in the hierarchy by the previously dominant category. The spatial pattern differentiations were further explored in three complementary case studies investigated in correlation with socioeconomic data, revealing a heterogeneous landscape
... This process of "curtaining off" is not only materialized in the form of gated communities and the high fences of suburban homes (Hirt & Petrović, 2011) but also, and more importantly, it is tightly knit with the cultural condition of privatism, the "widespread disbelief in a benevolent public realm and the widespread sense that to appropriate the public may be the best way to thrive in private: To secede is to succeed" (Hirt, 2012, 4). Hirt has pointed out that the extreme effects of privatism are not to be taken as representative of the entire postsocialist region (her empirical work concentrated on Sofia, Bulgaria [Hirt, 2007[Hirt, , 2008Stanilov & Hirt, 2014] and Belgrade, Serbia [Hirt & Petrović, 2011]); in particular, in wealthier Central European cities, more moderate forms of privatism have manifested. As we demonstrate, privatism, as part of a reactive discursive frame, plays a role in our Central European case. ...
Article
The article brings a perspective of governmentality theory to the studies on residential suburbanization of the European postsocialist cities. By examining the accounts of the mayors of fringe urban districts and municipalities located in the metropolitan area of Brno, the second-largest Czech city, we identify two interlinked discourses – the reactive discourse and the proactive discourse, both underlined by a specific sociospatial imaginary of rurality. The lens of governmentality theory led to the focus on the mayors' understanding of the process, their position within it, the political tools they did (not) apply and the legitimation of their decisions. The two-wave research design (2006–2009 and 2019, 26 interviews in total) enabled us to capture the substantial change in the intensity of these discourses over time to examine how they relate to the construction of the boundaries of municipal responsibility within the challenging suburbanization process.
... Since the 1990s, Sofia has witnessed deindustrialisation, economic depression, and in recent years, a move towards a services and outsourcing economy. Spatially, there has been an increase in gated communities along with retail spaces and suburban housing developments on the outskirts (Hirt, 2012;Holleran, 2014;Stanilov & Hirt, 2014). This presents many challenges for people wanting to exercise. ...
... Suburbanisation has been described as a general model of development by linear tendencies along the main transportation axes, as well as low-density residential areas in the outskirts of towns in several post-communist metropolitan areas e.g. Budapest (Kok, Kovacs, 1999;Soós and Ignits, 2003), Prague (Sýkora, 2006;Ourednicek, 2007;Sýkora and Ourednicek, 2007;Bičík and Jeleček, 2009;Špačková and Ouředníček, 2012), Warsaw (Degórska, 2004;Lisowski, 2004;Degórska, 2012) or Sofia (Hirt, 2007;Hirt and Stanilov, 2007;Stanilov and Hirt, 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
The current study is a spatial and temporal assessment of urban sprawl dynamics, considered as a key parameter for quantifying urban sprawl. The assessment was carried out in a large geographical unit, i.e. Romanian Plain, located in the southern and south-eastern part of Romania and characterised by favourable natural and socio-economic conditions for urban growth and sprawl over time. The authors carried out an historical evolution of the built-up areas in order to explain urban growth over the past century using different cartographic materials (Austrian maps, 1912 and topographical maps, 1970) and Landsat satellite images (1990, 2002 and 2016). In order to identify and understand the spatial differentiations, the spatial and temporal statistical analysis was performed for four time frames: 1912-1970, 1970-1990, 1990-2002 and 2002-2016. The results were quantified using two indicators able express the magnitude of the built-up areas expansion at each LAU2 level: the Built-up Areas Expansion and the Annual Expansion Rate. Furthermore, in order to detect the geographical expansion trend of the built-up areas, the data on the annual expansion rate were interpolated using the global polynomial function. The spatial analyses revealed significant spatial differences in the urban sprawl process during the analysed intervals in relation to the main triggering factors.
Article
Social development is conditioned by the capitalist mode of production, which requires constant investment of surplus capital in new production, innovation, infrastructure and other projects. It also restricts the discovery of new territories usually large urban areas that have the potential and the possibility of absorption of the same. It is also a direct relationship between urbanization and channeling of excess capital which is exhaustively spoken about by David Harvey. In contrast to the capitalist countries which with the goal to revive and produce surplus capital and surplus value, at the half of the last century, have created a strong banking system, financial institutions and foundations that have made loans for urban infrastructure development and favorable loans to citizens in order to achieve housing rights and build specific urban styles, in Eastern Europe the situation has not played out in the same direction. A different approach to social development as well as development planning and expansion of urban areas can significantly determine the path of increasing urban poverty further supported by the pressures that comes from those countries to support the sustainability of the capitalist mode of economic development of new markets and cheaper labor, as is the case with certain Asian and Latin American countries. The final image of the structure of the urban population of the post-Communist countries is affected by processes of transition and privatization. Growth and development of urban areas should be seen as separate categories caused by a number of factors such as social heritage and social organization, transformation and transition processes, the degree of industrialization and alike.
Chapter
This chapter provides an overview of the growing impact of short-term rental platforms on urban life, and more generally, their potential to disrupt and deregulate existing order in society and the tourism economy. It argues that the conditions that allow platforms to flourish are contingent upon the different political and sectoral contexts in which they operate and the public interests that are at stake. Moreover, they depend upon governments’ interest and ability to enforce (new) regulations upon them. By means of illustration, the chapter describes the development of Airbnb in Sofia, Bulgaria and sheds light on the broader urban transformations that have taken place in the city since the end of the socialist regime in 1989. The section provides empirical evidence of the unevenly distributed economic benefits produced by Airbnb, further adding to existing socio-economic disparities within the context of Sofia, Bulgaria.KeywordsPlatform impactsTourism gentrificationHotel industry Airbnb SofiaBulgaria
Book
Full-text available
Az elmúlt évtizedekben a tudás, a kreativitás és az innováció szerepe felértékelődött a városok versenyképességében. Nem véletlen, hogy a kreativitás, a kreatív gazdaság és a városok fejlődése egyre jobban összefonódott. Fokozatosan átalakult a városok társadalma és gazdasága, valamint a városrégiók fizikai környezete és térbeli megjelenése. A szerző a budapesti agglomeráció példáján keresztül mutatja be a kreatív gazdaság fejlődésének városföldrajzi hatásait.
Article
The paper investigates built-up areas expansion after the 1990 in one of the highly urbanized regions of Romania - Romanian Plain, in order to explore the urban sprawl phenomena and its temporal and regional disparities in relation to some of the main distance driving factors. The research uses Landsat 4/5 Thematic Mapper (TM), Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM), and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) imagery to derive built-up areas and quantify their expansion over time in relation to fourteen distance explanatory factors: i.e., previous built-up areas, main road infrastructure, Bucharest city’s boundary, location of the urban centres classified according to demographic size and main economic function, forest land and water bodies. To estimate the influence of the predictors, the binary logistic regression was applied. Furthermore, to estimate the effectiveness of the predictor set in the variation of built-up areas expansion, the pseudo R² was calculated and discussed. Moreover, to understand the future potential trend of urban sprawl and its spatial pattern, the probability maps were generated by integrating the regression coefficients of the statistically significant predictors into the spatial modeling. For the results performance assessment, the statistic Receiver Operating Characteristic and the pixel-based comparison between the real and predicted data were used. To assess possible differences at spatial and temporal scale, the analysis was carried out at regional level, for two periods: 1990–2002 and 2002–2018. In general, our findings show inverse relationship between the distance driving factors and built-up areas expansion, but the estimated predictive power suggests important disparities within the study area over the analysed periods. Overall, the statistical analysis indicate that the distance to previous build-up areas, distance to road infrastructure, distance to Bucharest and other large urban centres, and distance to urban centres with dominant industrial and service functions were more influential to urban sprawl after 1990. Furthermore, the predicted spatial data shows the highest potential of urban sprawl in the future around Bucharest, in the proximity of existing built-up areas and road infrastructure. Because of its predictive character, the present study is to be a useful tool for land managers and policy makers.
Article
Former state-socialist cities were described by the literature as compact and relatively dense urban forms. However, the political transition of 1989–90 has changed the spatial characteristics of these cities, partly due to urban sprawl. Yet, we do not know if such a phenomenon as “sprawl” did exist before 1989. The main aim of this paper is to assess urban expansion in the metropolitan region of Budapest during state-socialism and after the political changes, and measure the intensity of urban sprawl. The main thesis is that urban sprawl did not start with the advent of market forces in 1989–90, but it was already present during state-socialism, however the tempo of sprawl was considerably increased by suburbanization, the dominant form of urban expansion, after 1990. In order to explore the longitudinal land use changes in the Budapest metropolitan region we analyse standardised databases and maps (e.g. military topographic map from 1959, Corine Land Cover database from 1990 and European Urban Atlas from 2012). The discussion is focused, on the one hand, on the growth of urbanized land as an outcome of urban sprawl and the main underpinning factors in different epochs and, on the other hand, on the main driving forces of suburbanization and sprawl. Research results clearly show that urban sprawl has intensified around Budapest after the political changes. This was the result of a complex interplay of socio-economic and political factors, a process driven by the free movement of residents, firms, as well as the reshuffle of the regulatory framework. The study demonstrates that urban sprawl has several negative impacts on social, economic and environmental sustainability in the investigated metropolitan region, which is in line with findings of the literature.
Article
The current paper aims at assessing future urban sprawl in Romania based on predicted land use/cover change (2007–2050) simulated using CLUE-S model (the Conversion of Land Use and its Effects at Small regional extent) and CORINE Land Cover (CLC) database. Given the regional particularities of land use/cover change, the CLUE-S model was applied for each Development Region of Romania (NUTS 2 level). The authors analysed various biophysical and socio-economic explanatory variables associated with the current patterns of urban expansion and assessed future urban sprawl based on historical built-up expansion. The model shows increasing built-up areas mainly in relation to the decreasing in agricultural lands, especially inside and outside the cities limits, with significant differences at the regional level. The results provide support for the decision-makers and local communities in promoting less consumption of land resource and the protection of the environment.
Article
Full-text available
The objective of this article is to provide an analysis of the spatialities of Airbnb in Sofia, Bulgaria. Relying on an analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data, this article firstly explores the diffusion and concentration of Airbnb listings in the city’s districts. It questions whether the platform’s self-proclaimed contribution to a more diversified offering of tourism accommodation indeed applies to the context of Sofia. It then identifies which listings are most popular among Airbnb guests, and examines who reaps the benefits and profits from this “sharing” economy and who does not. In doing so, this article aims to provide a more nuanced understanding of the power relations in the production and consumption of Airbnb experiences. Whilst discussing the socio-spatial impacts of Airbnb in Sofia, this article takes into account some of the broader urban transformations that have taken place in the city since the end of the socialist regime in 1989. The findings suggest that the large majority of Airbnb listings tend to concentrate in those districts that are marked by commercialization and gentrification and are home to a privileged higher-income population. These areas generally also already benefit from a high concentration of official tourism accommodation and tourist attractions. As such, the article concludes that, like in other European cities, Airbnb benefits a selective number of hosts and potentially further exacerbates an already problematic private rental market.
Chapter
Based on an empirical study of recreational running clubs, this chapter offers a longitudinal view of ongoing material and discursive transformations associated with efforts to foster an alternative vision of life in the post-socialist urban context of Sofia, Bulgaria. In doing so, it contributes new understandings of autonomous geographies and attempts at fostering pluralistic alternative spaces across different urban contexts. Recreational running has the potential for creating alternative urban worlds through uses of space, bringing bodies together, and re-envisioning forms of collective practice. In identifying techniques for building new worlds through cooperation and re-envisioning corporeal politics, thinking with everyday utopias fosters the material and non-material methods of innovation, highlighting the potential of mundane actions to bring forth new urban worlds.
Article
During the last decade, recreational running in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, has become more visible. The growing popularity of free to join recreational running clubs is a key mechanism that has promoted running and developed the burgeoning running scene in the city. The case study presented in this paper draws on in-depth interviews and participant observation from an ongoing project with recreational runners in Sofia. This paper argues that these running clubs endeavor to promote a collective ontology that aims at bringing all sorts of bodies together. As such, running clubs present an approach that foregrounds participation and movement to promote sustainable urban spaces that are defined by their openness to corporeal activity. Drawing on the work of Jean-Luc Nancy and concepts of everyday utopias and urban play this paper concludes that running clubs are suggestive of ways to develop physical activity within a pluralistic notion of bodies and space. The paper develops the evidence base of elements of running club activities that draw people into participation in Eastern Europe.
Article
Full-text available
In this article, I discuss the nature of peri-urban growth in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. I argue that since the end of socialism in 1989, Sofia's peri-urban growth has been driven primarily by affluent households relocating from the central city to its scenic southern outskirts in search of a higher quality of life. In this sense, the process exhibits the classic signs of Western-style suburbanization and is qualitatively different from the peri-urban development that occurred under socialism. Much of the new growth, however, has occurred within the borders of former villages and areas occupied by summer cottages (villas). These once-modest city environs now exhibit a peculiar blend of the new and the old and house two distinct social strata, affluent newcomers and poor long-time residents. I conclude with a discussion of the social consequences of recent peri-urban change and the response of the local planners.
Article
Full-text available
This essay reviews some key processes shaping the transformation of urban forms that have occurred in Sofia, Bulgaria since the end of socialism in 1989. It introduces quantitative and qualitative evidence of five processes of change: growth of the urban periphery, decrease of spatial scale, privatization of space, land-use diversification, and pluralization of styles. Although Sofia's built fabric is generally changing in ways familiar to scholars of spatial restructuring in capitalist cities, there are important local, post-socialist nuances that affect these processes in terms of the pace and intensity with which they proceed.
Article
Full-text available
This article reviews the planning history of Sofia since its designation as the Bulgarian capital in 1879. It argues that Sofia's planning has been persistently shaped by two perennial dilemmas—how to reconnect the city with nature and how to define its relationship with the region. In response to these dilemmas, different visions, shaped by both local conditions and dominant foreign theories, were proposed at dif-ferent times. Some promoted a compact city, while others advocated a dispersed form. The case of Sofia demonstrates the significance of the city-nature and the city-region relationships in the evolution of planning thought. It also points to the diffi-culties that arise when local ideas of how to organize these relationships are inspired by international models made for cities with different historic experiences. T his article explores stability and change in the evolution of signifi-cant urban planning ideas over the 125-year-long history of the city of Sofia as the Bulgarian capital. It argues that two fundamental and closely intertwined planning dilemmas—how to reconnect the city with nature and how to define the city's role in the metropolitan region—have provided the framework within which planning debates on Sofia's form have evolved over time. Both dilemmas are, of course, well known from the history of planning in Western contexts. And while the strategies to solve them have shifted over time, the dilemmas have proven to be remarkably persistent, as the case of Sofia illustrates. AUTHOR'S NOTE: The author thanks the journal editor, the referees, Dr. J. Levy, Dr. J. Steiff, and Dr. D. Jeleva-Martins for their help and comments. She also thanks the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), which supported part of this research through the Title VIII Program of the U.S. State Department. Neither of these organizations is responsible for the views expressed.
Article
Full-text available
The article overviews the most important changes in the internal urban structure of Prague since 1989. Post-communist urban development has been influenced by government-directed reforms of political and economic system, internationalisation and globalisation, public policies favouring unregulated market development, economic restructuring in terms of deindustrialisation and growth of producer services, and increasing social differentiation. The three most transparent processes of urban change in Prague have been (1) commercialisation of the historical core; (2) revitalisation of some inner city neighbourhoods; and (3) residential and commercial suburbanisation in the outer city.
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter, we review the development of suburbanization in Prague and Brno metropolitan areas in the Czech Republic with particular attention paid to specific features of suburbanization in post-communist cities. Residential deconcentration brought about the spatial redistribution of the population within metropolitan areas while the overall population stagnated. The suburbanization of non-residential functions in the form of out-of-town greenfield developments has been more dynamic, influenced by the massive inflow of foreign investments expanding on new markets. Employment in core cities is shrinking while it is expanding in suburban areas, particularly in retail, warehousing, and — in Brno— also in the industrial sectors.
Chapter
Full-text available
The introductory chapter to this section of the book provides an overview of the housing trends in cities of Central and Eastern Europe during the crisis of the transition period in the early and mid-1990s and the subsequent boom of the housing construction industry. An overview of the market fluctuations since the late 1980s is followed by a discussion of the neo-liberal housing policies embraced by most post-socialist governments. The chapter concludes with a description of the spatial impacts on residential development patterns conditioned by market forces, public policies, and the pre-existing spatial structure of the socialist city.
Article
Full-text available
As Eastern Europe completes the first decade of the post-communist transition process significant changes in the built form of post-communist cities are becoming increasingly evident. Yet while there is a growing literature on the specific experiences of a few Central European cities, notably Berlin, Budapest, Warsaw and Prague, much less has been written about the cities of southeastern Europe. This is regrettable as it can be argued that the dynamics of transition-induced urban change might well be more apparent in urban places of lesser primacy on the European stage such as Zagreb, Croatia, Bucharest, Romania and Sofia, Bulgaria. This paper provides a sketch of the three distinct developmental phases through which the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, has passed since the end of the 19th century, each of which is to some degree visible in the built environment of the contemporary city. Particular attention is paid to the changing geography of class differentiation in the contemporary city.
Article
The paper explores the morphological transformations of Bulgarian towns at the end of the nineteenth century. These transformations occurred as a result of massive restructuring of existing towns through the implementation of new modernist principles of town planning popularized during that period. Informal rules that governed development patterns for centuries based on continuing cultural and building traditions were abruptly replaced by rational ideas about a new spatial order imposed by a centralized authority. Features specific to the Balkan region and those occurring more widely are noted. Variations between the plans are investigated in terms of their response to the realities and unique characteristics of existing Bulgarian towns subjected to large-scale redevelopment. A range of planning approaches employed at the time is outlined. While some plans ruthlessly imposed a new spatial order, others attempted to integrate the existing fabric into the new spatial framework advanced by the plans. The paper explores further the rationale shaping these various responses. A comparison is made between the plans as a manifestation of idealistic design principles and the extent of their implementation within a turbulent period of dramatic economic and political transformation.
Book
Utilizing primary research, Iron Curtains: Gates, Suburbs, and Privatization of Space in the Post-socialist City explores the human dimension of new city-building that has emerged in Eastern Europe. Features original data, illustrations, and theory on the process of privatization of resources in societies undergoing fundamental socio-economic transformations, such as those in Eastern Europe; Makes a broader statement on issues of urbanism in Europe and other parts of the world while highlighting the complex connections between cultural values and urban forms.
Article
One of the most notable processes of urban spatial restructuring in Eastern Europe since the end of communism has been that of suburbanization. The literature on suburbanization in Western contexts has firmly shown its gender-laden nature. Yet there have been few studies of the gender impacts of post-communist suburbanization. In this paper, I aim to partially fill this gap in the literature by exploring men’s and women’s views on living in the post-communist suburbs of the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. Using a survey of 250 suburban residents and two dozen in-depth interviews, I show that men and women have different suburban experiences. Women find it harder to get to central Sofia than do men. And although female employment rates remain high, suburban women report becoming more dependent on their male partners and having greater difficulty in balancing commutes, paid work and household responsibilities.
Article
Spatial deconcentration and concentration in metropolitan areas accompany the transition from the industrial to the post-industrial phase. This study considers changes in the spatial distribution of selected service activities in Warsaw in the period 1986-99.The services considered include business consulting, real estate agencies, beauty parlours, and car repair shops. The results indicate that the essential spatial patterns of these activities were similar in the 1980s and 1990s, although there was marked decentralization of services in the latter period.
Chapter
The demise of the socialist economic system and its subsequent restructuring has led to profound changes in the spatial patterns of non-residential urban activities in cities of Central and Eastern Europe. The most important and visible trend of urban development during the transition period has been the decentralization of economic activities, a process which has played a major part in the transformation of the post-socialist city. The end of state monopoly over the production and distribution of goods and services in the Eastern Europen countries has shattered the ailing body of the socialist economic system into numerous pieces, which have been scattered throughout the urban landscape. The ossifying presence of the state in all economic affairs has been replaced with neo-liberal policies unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of the populace, which has become much more engaged in the appropriation of urban space. The privatization of assets and the introduction of land rent have been the two determinant factors governing the process of urban spatial readjustments within the reality of a new market-oriented social environment. After the collapse of the communist regime, the post-socialist economies of Central and Eastern Europe were faced with another major challenge, besides the need to make the transition to market based systems. The former socialist states had to catch up with the process of global economic restructuring, which had been artificially delayed by the unrelenting preoccupation of socialist authorities with industrial growth. Thus, the first half of the 1990s became a painful period in which most radical economic changes had to be initiated and carried forward. A deep economic crisis set in, but the processes of economic restructuring slowly began to move forward. While agricultural and industrial production greatly declined, the service sector managed to expand and increase its share in the national economies (Szelenyi, 1996). By the end of the decade, the progress in transforming the CEE economies was clearly underway, reflected in significant changes of the national labor force strictures (Figure 5.1). Most countries saw a dramatic decrease in the share of agricultural employment, paralleled by a similar but softer drop in the share of industrial jobs. Thus, while in Russia and Hungary employment in the
Chapter
The changing spatial structure of post-socialist has occurred in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia since the collapse of socialism in 1989. Key distinctions can be noted in the organization of the socialist city's commercial functions. Commercial activities were grossly underrepresented, because the state's focus on heavy industry meant a permanent scarcity of consumer goods and consequently of outlets for their sale. The socialist period, therefore, brought notable changes in Sofia's spatial structure. The city, as noted, expanded dramatically. However, the spatial-expansion was primarily due to substantial population growth. Changes in Sofia's spatial-structure can be understood only in the context of the radical institutional and socio-economic changes after the end of socialism. Post-socialist conditions brought substantial urban re-structuring in the Bulgarian capital. The sharp-edge that had marked the dense urban-fabric of the socialist housing estates has been partially obliterated by the advent of a lower-density, suburban, and upscale residential fabric.
Gradoustroystvoto, arhitekturata i stroitelstvoto v Bulgaria v nachaloto na XXI Vek (v usloviata na pazarna ikonomika i svetovna finansovo-ikonomicheska kriza)
  • A Kovachev
Urbaniziranite teritorii na Sofia se uveliichavat s 2.6%
  • Dimitrova
Avstriici vlizat na pazara na targovski centrove
  • Todorov
Strategizing for the future in the four ECA cities
  • C Kessides
Jilishtata ostavat hit na imotnia pazar i prez 2012 g Sega 6
  • D Rajkova
Prices well above market values
  • Index Imoti