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To what extent were the cities of post 1945 Central and Eastern Europe transformed by socialism?

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Introduction

Name: Stephen Watt Matric. No.: 004159780 Contemporary European Studies Level 2 Title To what extent were the cities of post 1945 Central and Eastern Europe transformed by socialism? Word Count 1250 To what extent were the cities of post 1945 Central and Eastern Europe transformed by socialism? "Throughout the socialist period theories have been propounded about the role of the city and how this should be reflected in its form and appearance. Urban living has always been, and still is, seen as the highest form of socialist life-the city is the place where socialist consciousness can best develop the necessary environment for achieving the perfection of a socialist society." {French R.A. and Hamilton F.E.I. The socialist city. (1974) P.7} This quotation shows the importance socialist governments placed upon their cities. This essay aims to analyse the extent socialism transformed the cities of Central and Eastern Europe after 1945 to achieve their socialist goals. Through this the essay will show how socialism did physically transform the cities but failed to achieve the social and economic plans they were designed for. New cities, planned by town planners and architects, were built in Central and Eastern Europe to combat housing shortages due to the war. ...read more.

Middle

As the land was public owned this facilitated ruralising land that may have been used for industry or housing in pre-socialist times. In Poland landscape planners made a network ok of urban green space from housing estates and city centres to surrounding countryside. This showed the poles' commitment to establish strong links between housing estates and green space. It also showed the socialist commitment to improving the living conditions of society. {Mezga D. (2000)} There were no private businesses in the socialist cities this led to a major physical transformation. Shops no longer bared family names, the signs purely described the shops' functions: 'supermarket', 'hairdresser. Street names and monuments were also changed. They were no longer named after religious or capitalist personalities these were replaced by war heroes, socialist events and symbols and revolutionaries. Specialised services, which required an identity, were given individual names. " Among cinemas in Gdansk for example are the 'fairytale', 'dolphin' and the 'Leningrad friendship'... While among these in Irkutsk are the 'pioneer', 'peace'... and 'screen'. " French R.A. and Hamilton F.E.I. The socialist city. (1974) P6} All land and housing were owned by the state. ...read more.

Conclusion

The planners did not take into account a whole series of economic processes. Major priority was placed on massive industrialisation. This requires a large workforce and therefore attracted many people to the cities. The industries required inputs so suppliers were required in the area to cut down transport costs. The suppliers also needed labour. The cities would then supply amenities for it's residents and this would attract more migrants. This was a common picture throughout Central and Eastern Europe. {Anonymous} This increasing number of migrants into the city was main drawback for socialism in fully transforming the cities. As the population in the cities increased it became almost impossible for planners to stick to their plans of limited journey to work, limiting city size, decreasing segregation, and supplying adequate amenities with equal access. In conclusion although socialism did physically transform the cities of Central and Eastern Europe in the sense of planning the new cities in the linear form, with extensive green space and limited journeys to work. (See diagrams 2,3 and 4). The extent of this was much diminished by their failure to limit the population of their cities. The major failure in transforming the cities was socialism was unable to eradicate socio-spatial factors, e.g. segregation and fairness in house distribution, inherited from the pre socialist era. ...read more.

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