Development brokers and place-based projects in deprived urban neighbourhoods: The case of Pécs, Hungary

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Virág, Tünde
Jelinek, Csaba
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This article scrutinizes the effects of experimenting with Cohesion Policy (CP)–funded, place-based projects in an Eastern European EU member state through analysing the “best practice” case of György-telep. CP is treated as a policy tool aimed at tackling uneven and unjust social and spatial situations. The investigated case is an example of how a series of place-based, integrated urban development projects targeted a poor neighbourhood over the course of a decade in Pécs, Hungary. The analysis pursues an actor-oriented approach, shedding light on the work of translating the abstract policy ideas of the CP into actual development projects by different development brokers. The main question of the article is how and to what extent development brokers can become agents of change through implementing development projects built on such a place-based approach in a very poor neighbourhood. In the discussion, we show some basic contradictions and unintended consequences of such projects. First, we demonstrate that in some cases different projects built on different methodologies and logics (targeting the same or nearby areas) can interfere with each other. Second, we show that infrastructural investments implemented without proper planning can cause local tensions through disparities with the local inhabitants’ perceptions of justice. Third, we show that local institutional reshuffling and local politics can counteract the main aims of these development projects. While in the narrow sense the relative autonomy of development brokers can increase in place-based projects – for example, through informally fulfilling municipal functions – at the same time their autonomy is curtailed by various structural factors. Finally, we conclude that while important local results can be achieved, the systematic reproduction of injustices is not addressed.
területi egyenlőtlenségek , területi igazságosság , kohéziós politika , városmegújítás , fejlesztési bróker , periferizáció , városok - Magyarország , György-telep (Pécs) , városi periféria , városi szegénység , hely-alapú fejlesztés
Justice spatiale / Spatial justice 13 pp. 1-22. (2019)