Destiny of Urban Brownfields: Spatial Patterns and Perceived Consequences of Post-Socialistic Deindustrialization

Josef KUNC, Stanislav MARTINÁT, Petr TONEV, Bohumil FRANTÁL

Abstract


Compared to Western European or North American countries with developed market economies, the formation and acceptance of brownfields in post-socialist countries was delayed by approximately 30 years. For the Central European and partly Eastern European countries, the fall of the Iron Curtain and the transition after 1989 from a planned and state-controlled economy towards a market economy was unique for its time consistency. Yet, it was also specific for the distinct statuses of main sectors of national economy of individual countries, which got hugely manifested during the formation of spatial and functional connections concerning the problems of brownfields of all types (post-industrial, post-agricultural, post-military etc.). In the Czech Republic, there is a long history of industry; from the middle of the 19th century (the boom of the Industrial Revolution), it was regarded the most industrially developed country of Central and Eastern Europe. The massive deindustrialization of the 1990s caused increased concentrations of brownfield localities, with the local people and public administration becoming more familiar with them, and it also led to initial efforts for their systematic regeneration. The cities of Brno and Ostrava (Czech Republic), as well as other big cities in the Central European area, are typical examples for their finished intensive process of deindustrialization. Yet, regarding their economic preferences, and thus the existence of brownfields, they are highly distinct – in Brno there are more textile and engineering companies together with military and agricultural facilities; in Ostrava abandoned coal mining and metallurgical industry sites prevail. From the perspective of humangeographical methods and approaches, this contribution deals both with the functional-spatial consequences of brownfield existence in urban space, as well as with the results of research focused on the perception of the given issues by the residents of Brno and Ostrava. The research itself tries to demonstrate how the groups of selected respondents perceive and evaluate the brownfield problems from the perspective of their everyday experience.


Keywords


brownfields; perception; residents; city of Brno; city of Ostrava; Czech Republic.

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