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The urban transformations of post-socialist Dunaújváros

Christina Lenart


This paper deals with the urban transformation of Dunaújváros, a Hungarian city that was planned as an ideal industrial town during the country’s period as a socialist republic. Within a time frame of 60 years starting from the city’s foundation in 1950, the research investigates how this example of a post-socialist city was able to adapt architecturally and spatially to the new affordances brought by the change of political, economic and societal system. The parallel development of the old village and the new socialist town located next to each other allows for direct comparisons between an unplanned and a planned settlement. After a general introduction to the socialist city concept and the history and morphology of Dunaújváros, the study focuses on the development of its centres. This commences with an empirical notion of centrality that suggests the old village seems to have lost its significance today as a centre in comparison to the centre constructed during socialism. This perception is examined on the basis of spatial configurational models of different time periods, which are created from a range of historical maps. Methods of comparative study and space syntax are used for spatial analysis and are compared with empirically collected data on land use. Finally, the article discusses what tendencies of development can be drawn out from this analysis of Dunaújváros and what potentials the used methodology has for post-socialist cities and their centres in general. Through the example of Dunaújváros, the paper attempts to approach the major challenges that many post-socialist cities and their centres are facing today due to a shift from a precisely planned to an emergent state of development under new general conditions.


Space syntax, Hungary, socialist city, symbolic and instrumental towns, public space.

Full Text: JOSS_2013_P197-220