Innovating the Post-socialist City: Challenging Legacy. Emerging Fears?

The main topic of the session addresses the relationship between post-socialist cities and urban innovativeness, exposed to both internal and external transitional processes which have occurred since 1989. The legacy of socialism and the Cold War, the drastic socio-economic changes and a number of emerging global issues (e.g. aging population, global warming, economic turbulences, fast-shifting political landscapes and increased cross-border mobility) have created an unstable urban setting, overwhelmed by multiplying fears, environmental risks, contextual uncertainties and increasing global anxiety. Consequently, De Cauter’s six strata of New Fear (2004) - demographic fear, dromophobia, economic fear, xenophobia, agoraphobia/political fear and the fear of terrorism, constantly influence human (re)actions in/on urban space, challenging the openness of urban systems while simultaneously shaping new ‘shelters’ in a form of self-sufficient cocoons. However, all these threats and problems often trigger innovative solutions and models of urban practices, manifested in urban space as ‘in-between’ urban ecologies. The post-socialist cities, due to their specificities of socio-economic, political and historical legacy, represent a challenging environment which generates urban fears, while the innovativeness of urban practices frequently follows a very unique path.

The session welcomes case-studies or theoretical contributions which analyze and evaluate both positive and negative examples of new urban practices, spatial typologies, unconventional approaches and their amalgamation with urban hardware and software of post-socialist cities, driven by their geo-political role, governmental framework, cultural and historical experiences, formal and informal processes and anticipated future. Considering the trends and imperatives of recent urban paradigms (sustainable transitions, resilience, green economy, social equity etc.), as well as the ideas of an “ecological/environmental citizenship” (Van Steenbergen B.,1994) and the “green state” (Eckersley, 2004), the presented cases should consider the effects of specific social, technological and/or spatial responses which tend to provide a symbiosis of environmental values, political rights and obligations.


Session chairs:

Dr. Aleksandra Stupar, Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade, Serbia;  

Dr. Aleksandra Stupar is associate professor at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Architecture. Her research interests are technological, ecological and political aspects of urban environment, urban morphology and transformations. Member of ISOCARP and its Scientific Committee (2013-16). She is the winner of Gerd Albers Award 2008, given by ISOCARP for the best published article on urbanism and 2017 Ranko Radovic Award. Dr Stupar is the author of two awarded books - 'The City of Globalization - Challenges, Transformations, Symbols', 2009, and 'The City - Forms and Processes', 2016.

Dr. Tuula Teräväinen, Department of Historical and Geographical Studies /Environmental Policy, University of Eastern Finland, Helsinki, Finland;

Dr. Tuula Teräväinen is sociologist specialized into sociological science and technology studies and environmental sociology. She currently works at the Department of Geographical and Historical Studies / Environmental Policy at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF). Her research focuses on the politics and governance of new technologies and sustainable innovations, green economy and growth, socio-technical transitions and local conflicts, negotiations and democracies in local, national, regional (Nordic/EU/Andean Amazon) and global contexts.

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