Social transformations, housing and socio-economic segregation in the fast-track reform countries

Authored by: Tiit Tammaru , Szymon Marcińczak , Kristiina Kukk

The Routledge International Handbook of European Social Transformations

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781472477941
eBook ISBN: 9781315612942
Adobe ISBN:


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An important aspect of social transformations in fast-track reform countries relates to housing and residential segregation. While a rise in social inequalities has been common in the region, the relationship between social inequalities, housing and segregation is less straightforward. According to the paradox of post-socialist transformation, segregation can, at times, even decrease social inequalities, especially as wealthier people start to move from modernist high-rise housing estates built in the 1960s through the 1980s to inner cities (gentrification) and outer cities (suburbanisation), which lagged behind in investments under socialism. This chapter discusses the relationship between social inequalities and socio-economic segregation in the capital cities of fast-track reform countries. These include the three Baltic capitals of Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius and the two Visegrad capitals of Budapest and Prague. We find that social segregation was low in all of them at the end of the socialist period but changes in segregation since then have varied considerably. Tallinn has become the most segregated city while Prague remains the least segregated one. We discuss how the key contributory factors and unique profiles of the cities might help us to understand such differences in urban change in fast-track reform countries.

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