Územní Plánování vs. Generalbebauungsplanung: A Comparison of Planning Concepts and Practices between the former Czechoslovakia and the German Democratic Republic

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While there is no denying that the Soviet Union had great influence over the patterns of urban growth and development of land in Central and East European countries in the 20th century, yet a qualitative comparison of how each country defined urban planning and spatial planning during their state socialist regime have not been examined in depth. The nuances in meanings would reveal local perspectives on how the planning process operated in each respective country, thus unfolding the unique trajectory path of each city based on its location and importance within the country even after the transition to post-socialism. The aim of this paper is to expose the particularities of planning practices in Czechoslovakia compared to the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and to explain the differences in urban development in strategically located cities of East Berlin and Bratislava. The first part of this paper introduces the definitions and concepts of urban planning in the Czech, Slovak and German context and how they evolve throughout the four decades of various planning and building stages during state socialism. Then it discusses the concept of spatial planning and the instruments used respectively in each country. The third part will then demonstrate how these concepts and instruments were applied in an important aspect of planning infrastructure, the nationwide transportation network, and its influence on growth in East Berlin and Bratislava.
comparative planning history, state socialism, infrastructure, centralised economies