Nations, Cities and Organizations
Edited by Maddy Janssens, Myriam Bechtoldt, Arie de Ruijter, Dino Pinello, Giovanni Prarolo and Vanja M.K. Stenius
Chapter 9: From Uniformity to Sustainable Diversity: Transformations of a Post-Socialist City
Alexandra Bitušíková and Daniel Luther 9.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter builds upon the concept of the sustainable city which has been increasingly receiving attention in urban research and urban planning in Europe in the last decade. The chapter discusses two spheres of the postsocialist change in the city of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, that are closely connected to diversity and sustainability: urban public space and local governance. Both selected criteria are studied from a comparative historical perspective based on a socio-anthropological comparison of the socialist and post-socialist developments in the city. Their elements are hypothetically used as indirect indicators of (sustainable) diversity in the city. How and why public spaces are created; what segments of population they address and attract; how open, accessible and used they are by diverse population groups and individuals; how they influence the sense of place, identity, belonging, tolerance and respect; and how actively local governments as well as local citizens are engaged in the creation and governance of public space, are the central questions to be discussed. The key words linking diversity and sustainability in this study are openness, access, inclusion and integration.1 The main hypothesis assumes that diversity can only flourish in an open society/city that creates conditions (policies, strategies and practices) for the integration and inclusion of all inhabitants. The choice of the two criteria – public space and local governance – is based on the fact that these areas have shown most dramatic and visible transformations in the last two decades and are...
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