Volume 22, Issue 1-2, March 2018
IN THE SHADOW OF THE CITY: DEMOGRAPHIC PROCESSES AND EMERGING CONFLICTS IN THE RURAL-URBAN FRINGE OF THE HUNGARIAN AGGLOMERATIONS
Authors: Gábor Vasárus, Péter Bajmócy, József Lennert
Abstract: Because of the special settlement system in Hungary a municipality can be divided into three parts, the central inner area (core city), other inner areas (incorporated settlements) and outskirts. Because of this system and special settlement network, the process of suburbanisation in Hungary has some unique characteristics. In this paper we examined the spatial structure and social properties of the rural-urban fringe of four Hungarian cities, with emphasise on the other inner areas and the outskirts. The outskirts are mostly scattered or interim habitations within the administrative limits of a city or village but these are usually separated from the main built-up areas and almost all of them characterised remote-rural-like infrastructure and way of life. This spatial structure resulted in the phenomenon of the suburbanisation within city limits. Our research aims to examine how it influenced local society and land use pattern in the rural parts of the agglomerations. The used method was based on a questionnaire involving 1800 households and census of outskirts plots in the sample area of a middle-sized city in West Hungary. During this process, residents tend to change their living conditions to a more rural one without leaving the municipality, thus areas of former villages and outskirts attracted 55.1% of suburban movement outside of Budapest Agglomeration since 1990. Most of the residents came from the city to rural milieu and their main motivations were low utility costs, gardening opportunities and slow lifestyle. A significant part of them is especially looking for remote-rural-like environment and community, however they want to stay close to the city. A high proportion of migrants have low-income and disadvantages. The repeated expansion of modest houses resulted in a chaotic townscape that is creating conflicts within neighbourhoods. Even villages, incorporated villages and outskirts, which are at the same distance from the city centre, show significant differences in rurality, suburban motivations and society. The rural-urban fringe transformed into a highly complex spatial and social structure during post-socialist transformation, therefore the existing urban and spatial development methods of Hungarian Administration are not able to handle this phenomenon.
Keywords: conflicts, post-socialist urbanisation, inhabited outskirts, segregation
Article info: 14-29
Received: November 03, 2017 | Revised: December 31, 2017 | Accepted: January 9, 2018