Metropolitan Governance and Spatial Planning: Comparative Case Studies of European City-Regions

By Willem Salet; Andy Thornley et al. | Go to book overview

13

The Prague metropolitan region

Karel Maier


Background: socio-economic frameworks from the past

1940s to 1980s: centrally planned economy and development

Nationalisation and central control were stronger in Prague than in other parts of the country owing to the high concentration of people, capital and power and, therefore, more intensive efforts by the regime to attain full control.

Owing to … [the] totalitarian system the onset of intensive forms of development was markedly weakened and distorted. In many respects primary extensive forms of development were replaced by political decision-making, regional and local initiatives were suppressed and development activities operating 'from below' were suppressed as well. Natural tendencies, heading toward intensive forms of development, were at work in a very limited way; they appeared very late and often in hidden or indirect forms.

(Hampl et al., 1999, p.27)

In these circumstances, the position of Prague was much less important than it would have been in a less controlled system or a system with less egalitarian objectives of spatial development.


Changes of ownership in the 1990s: property restitution, privatisation and de-étatisme

Equal rights concerning all forms of ownership, the reintroduction of private entrepreneurship and the abolition of central economic planning were the first results in the sphere of the economy of the 1989 political changes. All property that had been nationalised since 1948 started to be returned to the original owners or their legal heirs. Also the housing stock built by the state or state-controlled cooperatives changed owners: the state transferred most of its stock to municipalities in 1991 and established basic frameworks for its privatisation at the same time. Prices

-205-

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