Participatory Design Processes for the Development of Green Areas of Large-Scale Housing: Case Studies from Budapest and Riga

Large housing estates (LHE) found in CEE countries can be seen as a legacy of socialism. Their endurance in these countries is still evident: the future of LHEs is substantially linked to their physical and social characteristics formed during socialism and their decline in status in Hungary and Latvia. The Western European practice of urban rehabilitation and community initiatives has gained more and more ground (sometimes literally) as of late. Our paper examines this phenomenon by analysing examples of converted green space of LHEs in two former socialist cities – a neglected and underused former “traffic park” in Budapest and a typical LHE “courtyard” overgrown and unused in Riga. We focus on the conversational process and the participatory approach of inhabitants and analyse how the redesigning of green areas involving local communities can lead to inhabitants feeling more at home in this housing structure.

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