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From modernist to market urbanism: the transformation of New Belgrade

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Abstract:

This paper introduces two starkly contrasting faces of recent European urbanism, and shows how they have shaped the same urban territory, New Belgrade. In the first place, it outlines the central dilemmas and difficulties around the construction of a large modernist city in Europe, and secondly, it explores the modifications undertaken in order to accommodate a radically different, consumption-oriented society. The location for this enquiry is the largest municipal district within Belgrade. New Belgrade, with its immense size and expanse (over 40 sq km and a population of about 250,000), grand boulevards and massive apartment buildings lined up in numbered blocks, is a mixture of modernist vision and socialist planning, far larger than any comparable urban district in Central and Eastern European cities. Designed as a federal capital for Tito's Yugoslavia, it rapidly became a predominantly residential suburb. New Belgrade is now being re-positioned and partly re-built as a business centre in a process of change driven largely by international capital, with international companies investing in the construction of large retail, leisure and business facilities. At the same time, open spaces are being filled in, often with up-market housing. The paper provides an overview of some of the plans and controversies that surrounded the city's construction and an outline of the modifications that have transformed New Belgrade since.

Keywords: New Belgrade; market urbanism; modernism; socialist urbanism; urban change

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02665433.2011.550444

Affiliations: School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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