Diversity, Economic Growth and Social Cohesion
Edited by Maddy Janssens, Dino Pinelli, Dafne C. Reyman and Sandra Wallmann
Chapter 6: Post-Socialist City on the Way to Diversity: The Case of Banská-Bystrica
Sustainable Cities 06/07/2009 16.44 Chap. 06 p. 108 6. Post-Socialist City on the Way to Diversity: The Case of Banská Bystrica Alexandra Bitušíková This chapter studies Banská Bystrica’s urban diversity in the light of political, economic and cultural changes and shows the conditions for transformation of the city and urban life. A historical sweep across three periods shows the effects of economic conditions and political context – national and local – on the outcome of diversity. The first period, 1918–1948, covers the democratic Czechoslovakia; the second, 1948–1989, the communist [‘socialist’] Czechoslovakia; and the third, from1989 onwards, the transitions towards the new state, Slovakia, 1 and European integration. Only the third, post-socialist, era provides the context of equality and openness that can ensure good and creative relations among different population groups – whether the defining difference is ethnic, cultural, economic or rural–urban. In this case the conditions for openness and good diversity are the conditions for modern democracy: private ownership and property rights; decentralisation of power; open access to public open spaces. The chapter highlights democracy and totalitarianism as two different solutions to the diversity versus sameness and private versus public space trade-offs discussed in Chapter 2. Allowing open access to the public sphere and making open confrontation possible released the dynamic (of ‘good’ diversity) which contributed to the economic and cultural wealth of the city. Throughout the history of over 5000 years the city has been considered a keystone of civilisation, characterised by diversity, complexity, variety, change and innovation....
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