Professor Sonia Hirt will present research on the recent physical changes in the built fabric of the Serbian capital of Belgrade and the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. She will apply two bodies of literature, involving postsocialist urban transitions and postmodern urban transitions. Hirt will present empirical observations on changes in building functions, scales, and styles in both cities. The presentation will highlight common traits that prevail in the evolution of urban forms in both Belgrade and Sofia, but will examine how contrasting social and cultural experiences of Serbia and Bulgaria during socialism and postsocialism have produced locally specific results. Hirt’s work suggests that postsocialist cities represent textbook examples of urban postmodernization, much as socialist cities epitomized the essential legacy of modernist urbanity.
- Lead Urban Specialist, Land and Housing, Urban Development and Resilience Unit, The World Bank