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The twentieth-century city: Socialist, capitalist, modern

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Scholars of socialist cities have debated the extent to which the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries created their own socialist space distinct from capitalist space or whether capitalist and socialist spaces were simply different versions of modernity. As Kimberly Elman Zarecor, Sonia Hirt and Brigitte Le Normand discuss (each from very different vantage points), architects and planners in the early-to-mid twentieth century transcended the ideological divide and worked across geographical and temporal boundaries. They thus participated in the evolution and development of cities across the former Soviet Union and Eastern and Central Europe that have similar formal characteristics yet that function in diverse ways. Their residents have also experienced them differently depending on the intent of the ideological framework under which they were created.
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Keywords: Belgrade; Bulgaria; Czechoslovakia; Sofia; Soviet Union; Yugoslavia; architecture; modernism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Kansas

Publication date: 01 September 2015

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  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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