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Towards ordinary quarters: the development of housing estates in Prague after transformation


The main objective of this paper is to explain and understand contemporary spatial changes within housing estates in Prague with special attention to the role of public and private institutions. We argue that housing estates are undergoing considerable functional heterogenization and becoming integral parts of the city as a consequence of mix of commercial development, specific public policies and activities of local actors. We focus on two crucial aspects of the contemporary development of housing estates within the capital city of Prague: (i) the new functional differentiation of housing estates as a consequence of private activities and commercialization; (ii) the role of master planning and public policies on the level of both the city and self-governed city districts. Activities of commercial and public institutions are perceived as structuration processes enabled and restricted by the constraints of contemporary post-transformational city. Methodologically the paper is based on analyses of the content of planning documents and policies (Metropolitan Plan, Strategic plan of Prague and selected documents of the city districts) and statistical information sources that relate to three levels of spatial detail. A case study of the largest housing estate and a symbol of socialist housing in Czechia—Jižní Město—illustrates the impact of state and municipal policies and commercialization on the local level.

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Fig. 1

Source of data: Trigema (2019). Note: 1 + k means a one-room apartment with kitchen and so on. The numbers for Czechia do not include prices for Prague. Prices for Prague also include prices for the Prague 11 city district

Fig. 2
Fig. 3

Source: Google Earth (2020). Note: CP—Central Park, H—highway D1, M—metro stations, SC—Westfield Chodov shopping centre

Fig. 4

Source of data: Own terrain research; Prague 11 (2020). Note: The legend distinguishes between approved and rejected projects of proposed construction

Fig. 5

Source of data: IPD (2015). Note: Shopping centres in Chodov, Zličín and Černý Most are highlighted on the first map

Fig. 6

Source: Google Earth (2020)

Fig. 7

Source: IPD (2018). Note: The blue line symbolizes the future corridor of the tram route through the whole housing estate


  1. 1.

    While at the end of socialist period in 1991 the total number of people living in housing estates was 524.811 (43.2%) in 2011 census it was 540.091 (42.4%) in Prague.

  2. 2.

    We perceive housing estates as the outcomes of socialist housing policy. They were built during the period 1945–1993 and exist in various forms and size (Fig. 2). Housing estates have specific regulation rules in the new master plan of Prague and are spatially delimited as “localities” of Modernist City (see below).

  3. 3.

    Jižní Město was the original name of a newly built complex of housing estate and a counterpart of the Severní Město (Northern Town located in the northern part of Prague). From 1990 Praha-Jižní Město was the official name of the self-governing city district, now Prague 11. The terms Jižní Město and Prague 11 are used as synonyms in the text of the paper.

  4. 4.

    This was thoroughly evaluated by Ouředníček et al. (2018). The comprehensive summary from comparative pan-European research is then offered by Hess et al. (2018).

  5. 5.

    According to the last population census in 2011, only 5.5% of apartments were owned by the public sector, with 10.3% on housing estates (Ouředníček et al., 2018:351). This means that almost full privatization of housing stock has consequently created only limited potential to wide-spread marketization.

  6. 6.

    Labelled “Z(06)”—see Fig. 7.

  7. 7.

    Labelled “Z(07)”—see Fig. 7.

  8. 8.

    Locality „553/ Sídliště Jižní Město I jih Z(07) 0 [S]—see Fig. 7.

  9. 9.

    The fund was cancelled in 2015.

  10. 10.

    Housing estates are important places of memory and sentiment for all those people who have ever lived in housing estates (Ouředníček et al., 2018). Many of them are among the residents of this new development and therefore, the addition of new housing cannot be taken as a micro-segregation trend.


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This paper was supported by the Czech Science Foundation [grant number 20-09692S ‘History and future of housing estates: quality of residential environment and residential satisfaction’].

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Correspondence to Martin Ouředníček.

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Ouředníček, M., Kopecká, Z. Towards ordinary quarters: the development of housing estates in Prague after transformation. J Hous and the Built Environ (2021).

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  • Housing estates
  • Spatial planning
  • Public policies
  • Commercialization
  • Prague
  • Jižní Město