The Post-Communist Urban Landscape of Bucharest, Romania
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This thesis examines the formation of the post-communist urban landscape in Bucharest, Romania, with particular emphasis on the consequences of its transition from a centrally planned, communist economic and political structure to that of a free market system. The lasting legacy of failed communism and a painful, tumultuous transition to a free enterprise economy has left Bucharest in a deteriorating state, despite its comparative wealth within the country. As a national capital, it is especially crucial that the urban landscape, inundated with outdated totalitarian ideology, be developed such that it expresses and encourages post-communist national identity. However, without efficient, centralized urban planning framework, the effects of post-communist economic liberalism and privatization have contributed to the creation of a chaotic and inefficient built urban landscape. This study traces the geographical dynamics of post-communist urban development in Bucharest through case studies, independent field research, and academic literature related to public infrastructure maintenance. The influences of failed public project initiatives, free market real estate development, and the socio-economic conditions of the city are examined. Theoretical and structural changes experienced by the city during and after its transition from communism and the current conditions and challenges of Bucharest are discussed in order to demonstrate the necessity of comprehensive, enforced urban planning policy in post-communist cities.