High-Rise Revitalised

How will high-rise housing estates transform in Prague, Bratislava and Warsaw – cities where demand on the real estate market still overweighs supply, which means that even houses made of precast concrete enjoy unwavering popularity?

High-Rise Revitalised

“Nowadays, they are regarded as a decent place to live – though understandably not the most prestigious by location or status, more often than not they feature better access to public transport and better planning compared to some modern top-of-the-range housing estates.”

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Article by Martyna Obarska

What does the future hold for high-rise buildings? Scattered in the cities around the world, vast housing estates constitute arguably the most spectacular heritage of modernist architecture. They were depicted in films, formed the background in multiple novels, undeniably contributed to the creation of several music genres. And although their history, residents’ life and changes they produced in urban structure have already been sufficiently covered by experts, the debate over their future is still nascent.

Apart from low-key, exclusive parcels, highrise housing estates in Central Europe also feature gigantic housing complexes inhabited by thousands of people – the famous Petržalka in Bratislava is widely considered as one of the largest high-rise housing estates in Europe, while Jižní Město in Prague (commonly referred to as Jižák) is dwelled by 100,000 residents. In Poland, around 12 million people live in high-rise housing estates, accounting for almost 1/3 of the country’s population. Despite bad reputation of some Central European high-rise housing estates, such as Lunik IX in Košice, the vast majority is well-maintained, functional, having survived the austerity of undercapitali-sation in the wake of the fall of communism and having successfully dismissed the prospect of turning into ghettos. The infamy of high-rise housing estates from the 90s has dissipated. Nowadays, they are regarded as a decent place to live – though understandably not the most prestigious by location or status, more often than not they feature better access to public transport and better planning compared to some modern top-of-the-range housing estates.

It is worth noting that more prominent Central European cities succumb to urban sprawl with new housing investments – particularly the lower priced ones – spreading chaotically and with disregard for area development plans. The distances between individual buildings are determined by the profitability of the investment, not by the quality of life of the residents.

YOU MAY READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE (page 24-31)

Martyna Obarska – “Magazyn Miasta” Deputy Editor-in-Chief, urban anthropologist. Lecturer of School of Ideas (University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw).

Adopted text from Magazyn Miasta / Cities Magazine vol. 3

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