Contemporary Decentralized Development of a Centrally Planned Metropolis: The Case of Budapest

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Contemporary Decentralized Development of a Centrally Planned Metropolis: The Case of Budapest


  • Anna Kornélia Losonczy Department of Urban Planning and Design, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary
  • Annamária Orbán Department of Urban Planning and Design, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary / Department of Sociology and Communication, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary
  • Melinda Benkő Department of Urban Planning and Design, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary


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Abstract:  This study examines the changes undergone by urban centers within Greater Budapest’s extension area, which was annexed to the capital of Hungary in 1950, and which is, with minor modifications, equivalent to the outer zone today. The article compares the development methods of two different political systems: state socialism (i.e., the communist regime) between 1950 and 1990, and post-socialist capitalism after 1990. Over a longer period, the urban development of Budapest has made a long but circular journey from decentralized to a decentralized–disjointed socio-spatial development system, passing through a centrally-planned communist era between 1945 and 1990. Nevertheless, closer examination of this process reveals that several paradigm shifts took place in the design methodology, which was strongly influenced by socio-economic changes. These shifts, layered upon the inherited structure, as well as the neglect or preference of different systems, caused great differences in the development histories of centers on the outskirts. Therefore, we have set up a development typology for the centers on the outskirts by summarizing the planning history at the city level. Based on how well the center was able to incorporate itself into the larger metropolis since 1950, we have distinguished the following development models: the metropolized, the transcript, the rehabilitated, and the urban village model. This typology is extended to include new urban centers that formed during state socialism (between 1950 and 1990) and post-socialist capitalism (since 1990).

Keywords:  Budapest; governance system; metropolization; polycentric city; urban development; urban planning

Published:  


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v7i3.5426


© Anna Kornélia Losonczy, Annamária Orbán, Melinda Benkő. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.