Call for abstract // Facing Post-Socialist Urban Heritage

Domonkos Wettstein's picture
Call for Papers
April 15, 2023
Subject Fields: 
Architecture and Architectural History, Environmental History / Studies, Urban History / Studies, Urban Design and Planning, Research and Methodology


‘Facing Post-Socialist Urban Heritage’

abstract submission deadline – 15 April 2023

notification of acceptance – 30 April 2023

The DOCONF series provides a comparative overview of current doctoral research in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning, focusing on the urban challenges of the inherited physical (built and natural) environment of the post-socialist cities in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), and post-soviet Asia. Those invited include doctoral students or post-doctoral researchers (with a PhD/DLA degree earned after the 1st of January 2017) – specializing in architecture, urban design, urban planning, landscape architecture, or other topic-related academic fields.

The DOCONF gives a chance for young researchers to find relevant international context regarding their research topic, to present and discuss at an academic conference, and to publish a final full paper (15000 – 20000 signs) in the double peer-review open access DOCONF2023 e-proceedings (see previous doconf’s publications).  In addition, you could discover Budapest, the capital city of Hungary!

Abstracts can build on theoretical concepts, case studies, process interpretations, and comparative analyzes among post-socialist countries or between Eastern and Western Europe. Important that the scale of your research will be urban (not just a building), and if you work with case studies, at least one of them should be located in a post-socialist city. For abstract submission, using the form (Abstract submission), give your doctoral data, and write your title and a 250-300 word-long abstract proposal related to the general topic of the DOCONF series Facing Post-Socialist Urban Heritage.

Organisers of DOCONF2023 propose four key topics based on previous years’ experience, and they will finalise the sessions of the conferences after the abstract submission.

mass housing neighbourhoods

Throughout the world, mass housing was the answer to access decent living conditions after the Second World War and is still a used answer to the housing shortage in many countries. Modern and contemporary theories and practices shaping these housing developments seem to be global, but the urban form, architectural characteristics, technical details, ownership system, space division, everyday life, etc., are varied locally. In post-socialist cities, most of the housing estates were publicly owned, centrally planned, built, and managed developments, but after the privatization process, their conditions changed, and they have a lower ability to integrate current housing requirements. Nevertheless, mass housing neighbourhoods represent highly specific areas of cities demanding conceptual and thoughtful public policy decisions regarding their complex sustainability and livability.
Faced with their actual status, the housing needs, aspirations of the inhabitants, or the climate issues and the pandemic situation, what are the possible changes in this urban heritage? How do we not betray the social and egalitarian ideals which motivate the construction of these neighbourhoods? And what challenges lie ahead for the inherited mass housing neighbourhoods of the post-socialist cities?


Post-Socialist Transformation Challenges on Seasonal Landscapes: Freedom appeared on a new scale but with a different meaning in eastern and western landscapes after the Second World War. While in the West, freedom emerged in the form of the right to leisure, in the East, holidays became a means of consolidating social policy. The increasing infrastructure capacity has opened up new opportunities for domestic tourism and recreation for a broader range of society, while it became a showcase for socialism for international tourism. However, the building process transformed the landscapes spectacularly, the buildings were designed just to meet the functional needs of seasonal tourism, focusing on a short period of land use. Simple and lightweight, experimental buildings soon became widely popular and deeply positioned in the collective memory as landmarks. But post-socialist resorts are now being shaped by privatization and contemporary tourism concepts. Formerly modern tourist monuments today struggle with problems of heritage protection, rehabilitation, demolition, or transformation. The new forms of freedom pose new challenges to post-socialist leisure escapes. How have new tourism trends transformed landscape identities? What rehabilitation challenges and tools are emerging in the renewal of tourist facilities? In what ways is it possible to define new concepts for post-socialist leisurescapes?

productive urban fabric

As a result of the centralized industrialization plans of the socialist countries after the Second World War, completely new industrial landscapes came into being, sometimes without profound precedents. They created a new culture of industrialization and unique built environment identities of the urban fabric. Starting from the early 1990s, however, the political and economic changes in these countries began transforming these industrial urban landscapes. Despite their excellent urban location, they relatively quickly lost their economic background and started a process usually associated with decay. Their transformation has taken many different paths in recent years, but their impact on urban life is almost unquestionable. Will high-quality, productive landscapes be born at these transitory places still looking for their new identity? Can the socialist industrial heritage be the base of resilient urban dynamics and new regenerative processes? The session focuses on the treatment of urban heritage and new strategies in these territories in post-socialist cities. 

re-use of urban public space

Public spaces in the socialist bloc acquired new political and social functions, therefore faced a drastic transformation compared with the traditional use of the marketplaces and promenades from before the world wars. New urbanization projects made possible the construction of new types of public spaces and public buildings, giving space to large controlled parades of the socialist society but less to small-scale community socialization. After decades of severely controlled public life, inhabitants of the post-socialist cities have been suspicious towards using the public spaces and socialist public functions as their natural meeting places, but rehabilitation projects and new public functions gave life even to the most utopian and grandiose spaces, especially where community involvement was used for the redesign. In this session, we collect scholarly studies on the rehabilitation and re-use of public spaces in post-socialist cities and villages. Public buildings and external spaces can be both subjects of analysis, if their use has been measurably modified, good and bad practices can both be presented.

Contact Info: 

Chair of the DOCONF series: Dr. habil Melinda BENKŐ PhD

Secretary of the DOCONF series: Dr. Domonkos WETTSTEIN PhD


BME Department of urban Planning and Design
Műegyetem rkp. 3. 1111-Budapest, Hungary

Contact Email: