This book analyses postsocialist urban policy. The focus lies on the question of how certain it is that postsocialist Eastern European Cities are approaching the Model of the classic “European City“. The city of Warsaw was chosen as case study. Based on the neo-weberian approach developed by Le Galès, the author defines the characteristics of the European City in the field of urban planning and studies them in relation to the contemporary debate on Governance. The public institutions along with the formal urban policy goals in Warsaw show convergence to the Model of the European City. However in practice, informal processes and negotiations initiated by economically strong parties dominate the urban development in Warsaw. This duality of urban development stands against the Model of the European City. The situation in Warsaw is compared with urban planning processes in Budapest, Prague, Wroclaw, Poznan and Gdansk. As a result, the specifics of postsocialist urban policy and the Varsovian urban development are shown. This demonstrates that there is no linear progression from the postsocialist city to- wards the European Model. Instead, a particular Eastern European type of urban development has evolved.
Funded by the British Academy this project investigates the transformations of public space in interface areas of the German-Polish ‘twin towns’ of Frankfurt-Slubice, Guben-Gubin and Görlitz-Zgorzelec along the Oder-Neisse border. Despite modest populations, the border towns have major symbolic value for two nations attempting to write a new chapter in a modern history marked by war, trauma and deep resentments. The eastward expansion of the EU has propelled the towns from the margins to the heart of Europe. Cultural and socio-economic divisions nevertheless run deep. With the opening of the borders in 2007 changing physical realities are dramatically impacting possibilities of transnational interactions. This project offers the first comparative study of the border towns and specifically the role of spatial settings in cross-border exchange. This allows for a more contextual account of the relationship between social practice and place in German-Polish twin towns and sheds light on how communities use urban environments to cope with legacies of conflict and ongoing ethno-national difference.
The Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology at Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ (Germany) is likely one of the most appealing and advanced research centres I’ve seen in relation to urban and environmental studies. See bellow the short description provided in their website:
The Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology at Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ builds on a rich tradition of scholarship in human ecological research in sociology and related disciplines. Here, you may explore our web of people and projects, and how they are advancing sociological inquiry in inter- and transdisciplinary contexts.
What I most like is the track record of research projects. I have affinity for many of the topics covered by them such as land use conflicts, urban development or social cohesion. One of the head of the department Dr. Sigrun Kabisch has conducted mining regions related research projects in the past as well as I do in my doctoral dissertation. Actually, I have got coincidence with she and other members in several international conferences.
I promise to track them and occasionally mention some of its projects in the category #TopResearchProjects
What you can see here is a photo taken in Manila (Philippines). Concretly, the buildings in the background are the so called Makati city, if I remember correctly. Why I’ve chosen this photo for my blog background? Well, for three reasons.
First, it reflects in a single view my research interests, i.e. rapid growth, urban development, inequality, residential segregation, among others, also environment and climate change in the Global South ( the river waters (here isn’t entirely appreciable) are very contaminated)
Second, because it was me who took this picture during my work experience in 2009. I indeed keep very good memories from that trip. I hope one day upload more pictures.
Third, because I’ve noticed a blog hits growth from Philippines, becoming actually the fifth most frequent visitors.