Chapter 5 Memory and Placemaking: Competing Memory, Forgetting and Distorted Rediscovery in Eastern European Cities

In: Placemaking in Practice Volume 1
Authors:
Emina Zejnilović International Burch University Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Erna Husukić International Burch University Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Nika Ðuho Croatian Catholic University Zagreb Croatia

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Tatsiana Astrouskaya Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe Marburg Germany

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Edmond Manahasa Epoka University Tirana Albania

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Abstract

As the relationships between individuals, groups and space fluctuates under the influences of cultural pressures, the development of cities and the accretion of its forms is subjected to unremitting alterations. Unlike the natural growth of urban tissue that develops through predicted events, major, and often unforeseen, chaotic happenings disrupt the urban development, causing omnipresent physical shifts with different levels of socio-spatial complexity. These manifestations can easily be associated with urban landscapes of post-socialist European cities that have been radically reconfigured and reinterpreted as national and transnational cultures and identities of newly formed states were created. In parallel with Europeanization, and globalization, this shift caused changes in the social and economic structure that are strongly manifested in the urban fabric of cities in transition. Massive commercialization through growth of the retail and business sector, consumer services and entertainment, privatization of urban land and housing, as well as the disregard towards the existing urban and architectural fabric, attempted to transform socialist urban identity and portray the image of the Western model of spatial narrative. This resulted in disjointed city spaces and established spatial linkages that disrupt the totality of the city image, as well as the continuity of meaning through time and space. Existing sites of memories and city experience have been reinterpreted, triggering historical oblivion and remembrance distortion. Memories are competing with one another, while the existing forms of recollection are being transformed as new ones keep appearing in their place. Thus, dominant narratives of post-socialist urban environments are being increasingly based on discrepant spatial temporalities, creating urban areas that are progressively obtaining the character of nonplaces and heterotopias – worlds within worlds. This chapter explores this burgeoning field of research through selected case studies, relating to the influence of the cultural politics of space on collective memory and socio-spatial identity in post-socialist European cities. In specific, it offers a contemporary perspective on urban and social alterations, and their reverberation on the continuity of the memory discourse, presenting the cases of Sarajevo, Zagreb, Minsk and Tirana. It focuses on the spatial tensions between the memory of remembering versus the memory of forgetting, identifying major milestones that impact contemporary memory and city identity. The aim is to identify similarities and differences in the process of new identity creation and explore the complex links between time and space as fundamental categories of socio-spatial rooted perception, which are continuously deteriorating, imposing an emergent necessity for revalorization of both individual and collective memory.

1 Introduction

Human memory is spatial and the shaping of space is the equivalent of the shaping of memory (Hebbert, 2005). Physical volume per se does not independently define place, memory or identity. It is the bodily experiences of being and moving in material space that sets the ground for collective remembrance and identity creation. Therefore, space, in the obscurity of its ever-changing socio-temporal character, which is continuously revised, spontaneously or deliberately transformed, institutes the creation of the sense of place and collective memory discourse.

Regardless of opposing theoretical approaches vis-à-vis the fluctuating nature of the space narrative and its reciprocal social interpretation, the transformation of spatial order is continuous, and has been particularly obvious during the last century. Many cities have experienced the shift within the urban structure associated with social tensions, political transformations and contradictions. Forms evolve, are deformed, or neglected, adapted or eradicated, affecting the material organization of the city and the flow of urban memory. (Zejnilović & Husukić, 2020). This chapter is concerned with these continuous processes, which disjoin city spaces and memory, making them struggle to attain spatial coherence and homogeneity, while integrating the existing urban legacy in the new space identity.

In general, the cities and their architectural expression are shaped by their respective forms of economic organization, class formation and political structures. The socio-spatial organization of cities, their patterns of social interaction, are directly linked to city identity. The complexity of forming city identity is further burdened by the fact that these processes are not static, but are continuous, multiple and very often unpredictable. Particularly large-scale events and other extraordinary circumstances provoke paradigm shifts that leave strong physical traces, which are then collectively expressed and easily readable through urban and architectural form. The collapse of the political system in the Eastern Bloc countries during the 1990s was one such event, as its impact and magnitude affected the lives of close to a third of the world’s population (including China) (Stanilov, 2007). The political, social and economic changes that followed in what was defined as the post-socialist era imposed changes to the lifestyles of those who lived under the system. Subsequently, cities and architecture needed to provide an adequate response to this change. Additionally, it was expected that a post-socialist city would be different from its predecessor, which caused cities across Europe to develop numerous rebranding strategies. Some of them were very aggressive and radical, others confusing and unclear about what they were transitioning into. Though the former socialist countries shared similar political ideologies, and the general intention of the post-socialist era was moving towards a Western-style democracy, they were still distinct in their socio-political and architectural context. Their roads to transformation were not the same either, thus the rebranding of cities, or how they were to set path for new spatial identities, and new memories to be created was a question that each country had to figure out on its own.

The legacy of the built environment produced under similar socio-political conditions led to the construction of distinct architectural culture and spatial narratives. So, what succeeding socialist cities? What were the dynamics of these transitions? What was the role of the socialist urban legacy in the creation of collective memory dialogue, and what is its place in the new post-socialist city? What is the impact of the socialist legacy on the establishment of new spatial identity? These are some of the ambitious questions that this study aims to answer. The crises associated with the transformation in the societies and cities of former state socialism offer an opportunity to gain insights into the nature of collective memory and how it affects the accretion of a new sense of place.

2 Cases

This research explores the collective memory association in placemaking in the post-socialist cities of Sarajevo, Zagreb, Tirana and Minsk, from a contemporary perspective. The studies present spatial alterations prompted by the fall of the socialist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe that transformed the existing forms of remembrance and created the necessity for spatial reinvention and city rebranding.

2.1 Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

The extremely heterogeneous character of Sarajevo, in terms of ethnicity, culture and history, affected the dramatic fate of the city and the production of its built environment. Like other capitals of former socialist Yugoslavia republics, Sarajevo was a testing ground for numerous, often opposing, political, and architectural philosophies.

The “between” character of the Yugoslav ideological context, that presumed continuous balancing between Western trends and inner contrasts (Mrduljas et al., 2013), resulted in a diverse and authentic body of architecture. The specific visual identity of socialist Sarajevo that created a strong sense of place and time is still visible through some of its most important socialist landmarks – from the very Mies van der Rohe-like Museum of the Revolution, the experimentation with residential patterns that combined Le Corbusier’s concepts of machines for living and the reflection of the socialist idea of equivalence, to impressive representatives of brutalist architecture and massive city development for the 1984 Winter Olympic Games.

Figure 5.1
Figure 5.1

Left, the Museum of the Revolution. Right, RTV building

Source: The author

The disintegration of the socialist state in the 1990s put Sarajevo in a unique and unprecedented situation. The city was subjected to the longest siege in modern history, a systematic and immense destruction of urban, cultural, and historical heritage. Unlike other East European cities, for Sarajevo, the primary task of post-socialist transition was not concerned with city rebranding, but was focused on reconstruction, migration and post-war trauma on a massive scale. Furthermore, the post-socialist Sarajevo became Sarajevo the divided city, with an administrative border, the Inter-Entity Boundary Line, dividing it into Sarajevo and East Sarajevo.

As contemporary Sarajevo struggles with the social production of space in the contexts of a divided city, it is affected by the dynamics between place and memory, remembrance and amnesia (Zejnilović & Husukić, 2020). The tension between remembering and forgetting, as a common denominator of many post-socialist cities, is in this case not directed towards erasure of the spatial and architectural layer of the socialist era. Quite the opposite, collective memory associated with the socialist period is reflected through empathic remembrance as it relates to the most prosperous development of the city that culminated with urban expansion aimed at facilitating the 1984 Olympic games.

But the sites of the rise are at the same time the sites of the fall of the city, as the majority of the Olympic locations were among the primary war battlefields, or were almost fully devastated. The Holiday Inn hotel that accommodated the members of the International Olympic Committee, the authority responsible for organizing the Olympic Games, was transformed into an international war media headquarters and was described as “ground zero” – a place where the war comes to you. The

Zetra Olympic Hall, the venue of the ice hockey and figure skating events and the closing ceremony of the Sarajevo Winter Olympics, was set on fire and destroyed in May 1992. Also destroyed were the Mojmilo Olympic Village in Sarajevo, the bobsleigh run on Mount Trebavić, the ski jump on the Igman mountain plateau, the Famos hotel on Mount Bjelašnica, the Feroelektro hotel in Sarajevo, the RTV building and many others, turning most glorious examples of socialist legacy into a legacy of the devastation.

Figure 5.2
Figure 5.2

Post-war Sarajevo and the state of the Olympic legacy

Source: Base map RISTIC, M., and the author

The resulting spatial nodes of the two sequential mega-events that marked the end of the socialist era in Sarajevo, the 1984 Winter Olympic Games and the 1992–1995 siege, create a competing memory dialogue, a perpetual overlap of interconnecting remembrance, and are recognized as the dominant factors that impact the contemporary city identity and its perception through memory association. Complex socio-spatial context creates a fertile ground for ambiguous contemporary spatial interventions that challenge the existing patterns and foster the establishment of new visual identity and memory discourse.

The struggle of the contemporary post-war divided city to find its proper contemporary visual genre, with its oversimplified architectural vocabulary and continuous repetition of the same, is in fact the struggle to find a new balance between history, memory and the future. The dual, opposing, competing urban memory of the Olympic sites is continuously challenging collective remembrance, resulting in an uncertainty about which of the spatial memories will prevail and which will be forgotten. Strong memory traces of the golden era of Sarajevo, as the most important socialist legacy, with its connecting and integrative character, have the potential to be a positive drive for future socio-spatial development, which would reveal an empathy for lost totalities, and would even speak out in favour of a more coherent and homogeneous city.

Figure 5.3
Figure 5.3

Collage: Olympic Hotel Holiday Inn turned into a war press centre (1984/1992/2021)

Source: The author
Figure 5.4
Figure 5.4

Collage: Olympic Hall Zetra during the Olympics, in 1992 and today

Source: The author

2.2 Zagreb (Croatia)

Cities are like architecture – images and collage of different styles multiplied over time (Rossi, 1986). With the passage of time urban memory also multiplies. Cities are the central locus of urban memory that takes the form of symbols, monuments or public spaces. Urban memory is also associated with living experience that is revealed in the public space; therefore, it is based on spatial reconstruction. All cities are generally in the process of continuous creation, degradation and adaptation. However, the urban transformation of the post-socialist cities is especially indicative.

Zagreb is known as a medieval settlement that was surrounded by bastions and towers, and whose remains are still preserved to this day. Zagreb began to expand in the nineteenth century, but a sharp increase in the number of inhabitants was recorded after World War I. Since the post-war years, the city has been continuously expanding (Čaldarović, 2011). However, the process of urban transformation of Zagreb is often called “post-socialist urbanism”, which means strengthening processes of commodification, weakening the role of the state in urban planning and the indistinct attitude towards authenticity and sociocultural identity (Backović, 2005). The privatization and commodification of public spaces (seen through the rise of private and financial companies, hotels, shopping centres, telecommunications companies) are the most radical and visible changes in the urban structure of Zagreb (Čaldarović & Šarinić, 2017). In other words, the forms of placelessness become the dominant spatial narrative. It should be emphasized that the concept of placelessness indicates the spaces are without origins, lack social or historical roots, and are mostly oriented to instrumental purposes (Augé, 2002).

The rise of globalization, increasing foreign investment and the strengthening of local entrepreneurship are intrinsically connected with the concept of post-socialist urbanism. In Zagreb it is also often associated with wider processes of urban revitalization or urban renewal. The contradiction lies in the fact that urban revitalization as well as urban renewal are linked to the preservation of cultural and historical heritage, but often end with “expansion of the new urban forms”. Contradictions can be seen through the growth of shopping oases (Cvjetni Centre, Importanne Gallery, Branimir Centre) and private buildings (Zagrepčanka, Cibona Tower, HOTO Tower) in the city centre, which obstruct urban memory and create the impression of duality (Horvat, 2007). The impression of duality is seen, on the one hand, through the processes of privatization, which benefit specific social groups, and, on the other hand, in the closure, state of disrepair and destruction of public spaces or cultural and historical heritage (Čaldarović & Šarinić, 2017). In addition, some parts of the city are still struggling with basic infrastructure, neglected public spaces or depleted standards of housing planning. Thus, the aspiration to preserve the urban memory of the city is inversely proportional to the increasing efforts and disruption of public spaces through privatization, which inevitably disrupt urban memory.

In other words, urban memory is now questioned because of new and unpredictable solutions in the public space that are often not sensitive to the local, historical and cultural context. Although urban memory is multifaceted and layered, it is necessary to take into account the balance of the new and old temporality to ensure identity and memory of the city. In doing so, social values, social consensus as well as cooperation between different actors (including citizens) should be the guiding principles of contemporary urbanism.

Figure 5.5
Figure 5.5

Branimir Centre, renovated in 2019

Figure 5.6
Figure 5.6

Cvjetni Square in the very heart of the city

Source: Branimir Mingle Mall; TZGZ
Figure 5.7
Figure 5.7

Abandoned oil factory

Source: Flammard
Figure 5.8
Figure 5.8

Neglected spaces – Paromlin

Source: fotografijezagreba.hr

2.3 Minsk (Belarus)

At the turn of the twentieth century, Minsk, then the centre of the Minsk Governorate of the Russian Empire, was a provincial city with the population of slightly more than 90,000 people, while its ethnic and religious composition was diverse. Jewish inhabitants constituted more than a half of the whole population (about 47,000 people), followed by some 23,000 Russians, 10,000 Poles and 8,000 Belarusians.

Minsk was proclaimed in 1919 to be the capital of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic (BSSR). The city started to grow and develop rapidly. The building of socialism led to a significant change in the city’s landscape. In the 1930s, Minsk became one of the centres of the constructivist movement in Soviet architecture, represented in the BSSR by architect Iosif Langbard. During the decade before the start of World War II, Langbard designed and constructed, among other structures, the House of Government, the Red Army Palace, the Minsk Opera and the main building of the Belarusian Academy of Science, which defined the appearance of the city ever since (Shybeka, 2009). Simultaneously, Minsk cult architecture was exposed to destruction and annihilation.

The Minsk Jewish population peaked in 1939/1940 at the outset of World War II. It dropped drastically after the Holocaust and has continued to decrease since then, due to assimilation, migration and the unfavourable Soviet nationalities policies. The city was so devastated during the war that up to 80% of it had to be rebuilt. The reconstruction was triggered and adjoined by rapid industrialization and urbanization (Bohn, 2022). In place of baroque churches and synagogues, narrow streets, wooden huts and small shops, classic theatres and private residences, appeared big factories, trade union (profsoiuz), pioneer and railway palaces, broad avenues and numerous monuments built to commemorate the Communist Party leaders and World War II heroes. In 1972, the population of Minsk grew to 1 million, reaching 1.6 million people by the end of the Soviet era. Remarkably, most of the constructivist buildings of the 1930s were preserved during the war and blended well into the new socialist city landscape that appeared in the 1950s through the 1970s. The multicultural appearance of the city (including its Jewish heritage) as well as the very memory of it fell into oblivion by the end of the period of communist rule and its ethnic composition has continuously tended towards homogenization, with 86.6% of the population consisting of Belarusians as of 2019. Unlike most of the other post-socialist cities, the centre of Minsk was not essentially reconstructed from 1991 on and the street names did not undergo a significant renaming (Basik & Rahautsou, 2019). In independent Belarus, the political elites have been saturated in Soviet nostalgia and the “socially oriented market economy”, which the regime of President Alexander Lukashenka, in office since 1994, attempted to implement, allowed only a limited room for Western capital infusions into the city infrastructure. Thus, ironically enough, both dependency on the recent past and economic sluggishness turned out to be the effective instruments of preservation (or, rather, conservation). The city centre’s unique appearance as it arose in the 1950s–1970s remained largely unchanged throughout the 30 post-socialist years.

The writer, designer and architect Artur Klinaŭ reintroduced Tommaso Kampanella’s metaphor of “The City of the Sun” to grasp the peculiar landscape of Minsk (Klinaŭ, 2021). In Klinaŭ’s interpretation Minsk is the city of both the “Sun” (сонца, pronounced SONtsa) and a “Dream” (сон, pronounced SON). Its architectural manifestations are the most literal embodiment of the socialist utopia with its aspiration to destroy the old world and to build the new one on the ruins. Simultaneously, Klinaŭ depicts Minsk as a city stiffened in space and time.

Figure 5.9
Figure 5.9

Minsk, the main building of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences (constructed in 1939, architect Iosif Langbard), in the early 1940s and in the early 1980s

Source: archive of the author

Source: Likhatorovich & Hrakhoŭski, 1981

2.4 Tirana (Albania)

After the fall of communism, the post-socialist cities faced the new capitalist economic reality. In the case of Albania, the free-market economy caused the closing of most state-owned companies, resulting in cuts in employment and consequently triggering migration, mainly to the capital city of Tirana (Misja & Misja, 2004). Furthermore, the weakly managed urban development provided informality, which in Tirana appeared in terms of “semi-formal additions to legal buildings” and “invasion of public space by illegal constructions” (Aliaj et al., 2003). Although there was a process of “cleansing” the informal constructions by 2000, the urban texture of the city was densified at the expense of public and green spaces through “legally” based partial urban plans, whereas in the city centre permission was secured through international competitions for the erection of high-rise buildings (Manahasa & Özsoy, 2020).

The new post-socialist city urban texture is observed to be subject to a rapid change in building height from the socialist city, characterized by mid-rise buildings, to the high-rise buildings of today. Such rapid urban development resulted in the damage of the historical physical pattern of the city. The pressure placed by developers often led to the treatment of historic structures callously, including even very important buildings related to the collective memory of the city or ones which possessed valuable architectural or historical significance. Such dynamic development caused a very dramatic change in Tirana’s urban identity and its built environment (Manahasa & Manahasa, 2020).

In the midst of this cacophonous post-socialist urban morphology, the iconic buildings of the socialist period were gradually adopted within the dynamics of the new liberal-capitalist realm. The undesired socialist heritage (Balockaite, 2013), according to Young and Kaczmarek (2008), was dealt with in three different ways: (1) it was subject to a process of “decommunization”, (2) there was an attempt to return it to a pre-socialist golden age, and (3) it was Europeanized by infusing it with elements from Western architecture (Diener & Hagen, 2013). Such operations have produced a hybrid urban built environment (Light & Young, 2011) and created buildings with dual meanings.

In Tirana, an example of the first approach is the removal of the socialist star symbol from the mosaic on the main façade of the National Historical Museum. Similar actions were taken in other administrative and/or monumental buildings on Tirana’s main boulevard, de-communizing them by purging them of communist symbols.

An example of the third approach is seen in the renovation of Hotel Arbëria, which was transformed into the Ministry of Justice by altering its original design and “Europeanizing” it through installing a curtain wall and a travertine façade. These transformations can be considered to be modest when compared to the treatment of the National Theatre building, which was demolished and replaced after an international competition, a form of replacing old buildings in Tirana.

Figure 5.10
Figure 5.10

Tirana boulevard image during socialist period in 1990

Source: Tirana Album
Figure 5.11
Figure 5.11

Tirana main boulevard in 2020 and high-rise buildings in its flanking sides

Source: Visit Tirana

The building that housed the Museum of Enver Hoxha is an interesting example of controversial socialist architecture heritage. It has been the subject of continuous controversy and debate (Nientied & Janku, 2019; Manahasa & Manahasa, 2014). The structure, which was built to be a museum dedicated to the memory of Enver Hoxha, was called “The Pyramid” due to its shape. During the post-socialist period the democratic government used it as an international cultural centre. Furthermore, in 2010, the government decided to demolish it and to erect a new parliament building on the site. The architecture, urban planning, design and art firm Coop Himmelb(l)au won the international competition to design the new building. Although the government aimed to have it ready by 2012, the plan was never carried out. The socialist government removed the building’s protected status as a monument of culture in 2017 (Çibuku, 2022) and through the Tirana municipality contracted the architectural firm MVRDV to transform the building into an information technology centre for children. This decision provoked different reactions, such as those who stated that the building should be conserved and transformed into a museum dedicated to the crimes of communism, whereas others supported the transformation of the building as a tool of revival. This project is in the realization phase.

The dichotomic post-socialist Tirana’s urban pattern has strongly influenced its city image, resulting in a disproportional morphological character. Many of the older buildings have either been demolished or sit in the shadow of new high-rises. Another important element which has also created a cacophony of intertwined meanings is the transformation of buildings due to changes in their function. This enormous urban transformation of a post-socialist city has also influenced a loss of collective memory. While the citizens identify the socialist city with a regular and cleanly built environment, albeit for people with controlled lifestyles, the post-socialist city is seen as a chaotic, crumbling, dynamic built environment in which individuals live open and non-communitarian lifestyles (Manahasa, 2017).

3 Discussion on Outcomes and Results of the Four Cases

Post-socialist cities are one of the best contemporary examples of how radical political and socioeconomic changes cause dramatic reformulation of history, space and public memory at a variety of scales. Though each presented case has its particularities, the research indicates that the post-socialist cities struggle with establishment of new spatial order, that would reconcile the past with the future and be a true reflection of the contemporary identity, both on a local and a global scale.

Figure 5.12
Figure 5.12

The former Museum of Enver Hoxha during the socialist period (top left), the post-socialist period (top right), as a Coop Himmelb(l)au project (bottom left) and as it appeared after it was transformed into a technology centre for children by the architectural firm MVRDV (bottom right)

As mentioned previously, debates around history, space and memory in the post-socialist period have predominantly been focused on the tension between remembering and forgetting. In the case of Minsk, both socialist and post-socialist memory and identity are still closely linked together and hardly separable from each other. After being torn down and rebuilt in the aftermath of the socialist revolution and two world wars, the new Minsk holds on to its socialist identity, which against the intention of its communist builders invokes reflection about its past. In Tirana and Sarajevo, the urban tissue is the carrier of opposing collective memory, which is associated with strong memory fluctuations. In Tirana, socialism is associated with a positive depiction of the built environment that reflects the communitarian ideas of socio-economic-cultural values; while in the case of Sarajevo, positive connotations with the socialist period come from the connection of that time with one of the world’s largest mega-events, the Olympic Games. In contrast, in Albania, a socialist dictatorial system resulted in negative views that still resonate in the urban and collective memory of the citizens, who remember socialist Tirana as a “controlled city”; while in the case of Sarajevo, negative links come from the way in which the socialist period ended, marked with the almost complete destruction of the city, its culture and heritage during the 1992–1995 siege, with spatial markers strongly present in the city structure.

These contradictions in collective memory discourse at the time of transition and search for new visual and social identity create fertile ground for spatial malpractice. Absence of sensitivity to the local and cultural context of the urban area, as highlighted in the case of Zagreb, has also been denoted in all the case studies. The external impact of “outsiders” in the process of creating a built environment is pervasive, which is why little, or no regard is given to the existing urban context or toThe focal point of the city life a new city identity. This is indicative of a strong gap that exists between experts (architects, urbanists, investors and politicians) on one side and the public on the other. Subsequently, contemporary impressions of cities and the establishment of new memory discourses are connected to the built environment and to socio-economic-cultural values in negative ways.

4 Lessons Learned

The cities presented in the case studies share a common trait: the struggle with finding the new social and visual identity because of the tension created by the discrepancies in the dialogue between collective urban memory and space of post-socialist cities. Some of the important findings of the studies that could potentially reconcile existing tension in the memory narrative and create positive base for future developments are:

  • Acknowledgement of the potential of the past narratives and cultural heritage in urban development and memory in the making.

  • Significance of valuing, respecting and encouraging balance between the existing context and tradition with contemporary needs and trends through innovation.

  • Importance of building on the grounds of positive collective memory context of the past, transforming spatial and mental notions of their negative connotations. These interventions could establish new sets of memories and city experience, which would contribute to the development of new spatial identities.

  • Recognition of the needs of inhabitants and everyday users of city space, within contemporary context and offer solutions that would reconcile the memory tensions through improving everyday use of space and life quality.

  • Understand the role of public participants and their importance in the urban planning decision-making process.

5 Conclusions

The city, as a place of creative activity, is always “on the move”, so it is not to be expected that it remains unchangeable. It develops, grows, is built, demolished, or renovated over time, therefore, it represents a process of continuous construction and destruction. Thus, temporality is one of the main features of the city, while the set of symbolic values make a place distinguishable and prominent.

To maintain the specificity of each city, valorization of the existing social and spatial heritage within a given local and cultural context is essential. In this sense, the role of urban memory narrated through spatial and temporal discourse is extremely significant. Previous spatial and social identities, in this case formed during socialist period, are unquestionable because of their role within the timeline of city’s development, and because they have also been materialized in space.

Aside from dealing with the existing memory paradigm, contemporary post-socialist cities must also deal with global challenges: the city being a place of innovation, or a place that represents the spirit of the present times. It seems that the ideology of a cultural architecture prevails in modern cities, which is expressed by using globalized patterns, which form a space disembodied from the local and cultural context. The space is mainly viewed through and used for economic purposes, transforming them into a space of spectacles, rather than space for inhabitants. In order to overcome these challenges, decrease the tension between the opposing memory discourse and preserve urban memory, which enables the sense of community, memory and identity, it is necessary to alter the urban planning paradigm. Change in a dialectic between memory contradiction and spatial division is a process asking for passive acceptance of the present socio-spatial setting, to be turned into active, coordinated transformation. Current gaps in the continuity of thought and space must be challenged in creative ways, filled with ideas, images and thoughts that are altogether more pleasant and less doubtful (Zejnilović & Husukić, 2020).

It is particularly necessary to focus on the local and cultural specificities of a particular area, which support the sense of identity and continuity. The city as a place of tradition and innovation must avoid unification in the sense of constant repetition of the same, as well as generalizations, over simplicity avoiding constant repetition of the same state of total homogeneity, and the reduction of phenomena to universal denominators. Architecture must allow development, but enable traditional narrative to thrive, thus maintaining the balance between the past and the future.

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Placemaking in Practice Volume 1

Experiences and Approaches from a Pan-European Perspective

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