Reconfiguring Socialist Urban Landscapes: The ‘Left-Over’ Spaces of State-Socialism in Bucharest

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Issue: Volume 4, Issue 1, 2010

The end of state-socialism has produced complex processes of urban change in East and Central Europe including the reshaping of urban identities and urban cultural landscapes in post-socialist cities. The geographical literature focusing on changes in the cultural landscapes of post-socialist cities has emphasized discontinuity from the state-socialist period. The removal and renaming of elements of the built environment and accompanying symbolic forms have been taken to be emblematic of the change of political and social system from state-socialism. While not denying the importance of these processes, this paper argues that such analyses overemphasize the degree and speed of change in the built environment and cultural landscape during the transformation from state-socialism to post-socialism. In particular, it emphasizes the importance of the persistence of elements of the cultural landscapes of ‘socialist cities’ after 1989 through a study of three such elements in Bucharest, Romania.

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