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Socialist Neighborhoods after Socialism The Past, Present, and Future of Postwar Housing in the Czech Republic
East European Politics and Societies
  • Kimberly Elman Zarecor, Iowa State University
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Publication Version
Accepted Manuscript
Publication Date
The Czech Republic’s socialist-era neighborhoods are largely intact twenty years after the end of Communist Party rule. These buildings will be rehabilitated, but not replaced, because of financial and logistical constraints. In the context of the country’s accession to the European Union in 2004 and the recent global economic crisis, this essay questions what can and should be done in an effort to make these neighborhoods better places to live in the present and the future. It starts with a brief history of postwar housing construction and socialist-era design methodologies, exploring postwar architectural practice and innovations in construction technology that were connected to the industrialization of housing production. The role of the Baťa Company in the development of panelák technology is described. In the context of post-socialist rehabilitation efforts, the discussion addresses current housing policy including regulated rents and the shift in emphasis from renting to ownership. Government subsidies and grant programs are considered, as well as problems such as physical degradation and social segregation. The essay proposes that for the future the social and spatial ideas that were part of the original designs may be more important than the architectural style of individual buildings.

This is the accepted manuscript of an article published in East European Politics and Societies 26 (2012): 486–509, doi:10.1177/0888325411428968.

Copyright Owner
American Council of Learned Societies
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Citation Information
Kimberly Elman Zarecor. "Socialist Neighborhoods after Socialism The Past, Present, and Future of Postwar Housing in the Czech Republic" East European Politics and Societies Vol. 26 Iss. 3 (2012) p. 486 - 509
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