Neighbourhood dynamics and socio-spatial change in Budapest

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Földi, Zsuzsanna
Kovács, Zoltán
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In this paper the socio-spatial differentiation that has taken place in the metropolitan region of Budapest since the change of regime is analysed. It is intended to show how local underlying structures and new regulatory contexts (e.g. free market, local urban policies) as well as legacies of the past work together in setting a diverse path of development within the city. In line with the objective in the analytical part of the paper the overall pattern of socio-spatial change in the metropolitan region is analysed with the aid of census data. This is followed by the interpretation of empirical research data gathered in different neighbourhoods of the city as part of an international research project. It is demonstrated that with the post-socialist transition the locational preferences of relevant stakeholders (both residents and investors) changed significantly which caused a sharp turn in the trajectory of the individual urban zones. This included the rediscovery of the city-centre, a slow but steady upgrading and gentrification of the historical residential quarters, the gradual social erosion in the housing estates, decline and later re-investment in the industrial brown field zone, and a boom, and later stagnation in the suburban areas. However, due to local policies and global effects (e.g. global financial crisis) individual development tracks of neighbourhoods are gaining importance in Budapest, making the pattern of investment-disinvestment more mosaic like within the same urban zone. As a consequence it is almost impossible to assess one urban zone as a homogeneous area, and set in a universal model. Dynamics more and more depend on local efforts and mechanisms. The study demonstrates that local forces are increasingly powerful in urban development and the overall future of the cities seems to depend on the total sum of efforts, investments and quality of change in its neighbourhoods.
szegregáció , dzsentrifikáció , Budapest , városmegújítás , glokalizáció , poszt-szocialista városfejlődés
Europa Regional 19. (2011): (3-4) pp. 7-20. (2014)