Urban fabric and political ideals – Cultural Landscapes of Post-Socialist Cities: representation of powers and needs

Cultural landscapes of post-socialist cities : representation of powers and needs.
Mariusz Czepczyński
Aldershot, England ; Burlington, VT : Ashgate, 2008.

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This book investigates the cultural landscapes of Central European cities in the Socialist period and through the post-socialist transition. In the first part of the book, “cultural landscape” is defined from previous literatures. Its relationship with history, geography and politics is discussed on a theoretical level. The second part focuses on the new urbanism introduced by the USSR. The Soviet-style architecture, public squares and boulevards imposed socialist power and concepts to the cities. The symbolism expressed through form and function of these elements is elaborated in this section. The final part is an analysis on the post-socialist transformations in the cities. Socialist legacies are cleaned away during “landscape cleansing”. New strategies are employed to urban development. New iconographies associated with democracy, free market and national narratives are introduced to the cities. This re-establishes the identities of the cities and the nations. Comparisons are drawn on different post-socialist countries to identify the contribution of local cultural conditions to the approach to the city.

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