In the face of gentrification: the changing identities of working-class neighbourhoods in the inner-city of Prague


Grantová agentura Univerzity Karlovy

Project duration

2021 - 2023

Project team leader

Adela Petrovic


The project analyses two selected gentrifying inner-city neighbourhoods, Karlín and Smíchov, identifies the changes in the urban physical and socio-cultural landscape, reflects upon their implications, and investigates the identity construction of these changing neighbourhoods.

  • As a form of the urban transformation process, gentrification changes the neighborhood’s physical landscape, social environment and identity. Focusing on two selected gentrifying inner-city neighborhoods, Karlín and Smíchov, the research delineates the changes in the urban physical and socio-cultural landscape. The project aims to identify changes, reflect upon their implications, and investigate the identity construction of these changing neighborhoods. The research seeks to bring together mainly qualitative but also a quantitative approach in analyzing socio-spatial changes in the context of gentrification.The research employs different methods such as analysis of population data, ethnographic observation, photo documentation, mapping, semi-structured interviews, policy and development plan analysis, and media discourse and narrative analysis. The research outcome is gaining more in-depth insight into the effects of gentrification on the identity of two former working-class neighborhoods and offering predictions on how these neighborhoods are affected in the longer term.

  • Timeline of the research activities:

    January – March: 1.a. Literature review
    April: 1.b. Empirical research: identifying shape, location, borders and specificities of Karlín and Smíchov.
    May – June: 2.a. Collecting and analyzing census and migration data and register of foreigners.
    July: 2.b. Collecting information on services, facilities, and economic and cultural activities through observations and web page analysis and mapping them, presenting the preliminary findings at RC21 – Conference 2021 Antwerp in Belgium.
    August: 2.c. Summarizing the main functions of the neighborhood through observations and looking at land use, and determining which function dominates.
    September: 2.d. Ethnographic observations, photo documentation of the chosen sights, mapping of elements. Publishing maps on the webpage of the project. Presenting the preliminary findings at the conference “Cities After Transition” (CATference) in Hungary (most probably in Budapest).
    October – December: 2.e. Media discourse analysis.

    January – June: 2.f. Preparation and submission of the first article.
    July – August: 3.a. Preparation of the interview questionnaires (different questionnaires based on roles – old residents, new residents, local politicians, employees of Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Praha), developers, urban planners, NGOs, activist organisations, academics). Testing the questionnaires and sending interview invitations to the stakeholders.
    September – December: 3.a. Carrying out the interviews. In-person interviews are preferred, but online or electronic surveys will be employed if the situation does not allow it.

    January – April: 3.b. Narrative analysis based on the interview results.
    May – December: 3.c. Preparation and submission of the second article.

  • First-year’s results

    Presentation of the outputs

    Throughout the first year, the research focused on three goals. The first was understanding and studying the physical, social and cultural changes in Karlín and Smíchov neighborhoods. The second goal was to analyze how the two neighborhoods are perceived and represented in the media and what message and meaning the media conveys. Finally, the third goal was gaining insight into how are the neighborhoods perceived and used by their residents and users.

    Since some research activities were carried out after the last conference or there was insufficient time to analyze before the conference, the results were partially presented at four international conferences and focused on one neighborhood, Karlín. Therefore, a comprehensive overview of the first-year research results will be presented at conferences during the second year.

  • 4-6.11.2021, in Prague (CZ), Urban Movements and Local Politics in CEE Countries: Recent Developments and Conceptual Ambivalences. Research project: From a former industrial neighbourhood to a creative-class oasis: A case study of Karlín, the inner-city neighbourhood of Prague. Presentation (together with Greta Kukeli).

    9-11.09.2021, in Novi Sad (RS), 5th Serbian Congress of Geographers, Research project: From a former industrial neighbourhood to a creative class oasis: A case study of Karlín, the inner-city neighbourhood of Prague. Presentation (together with Greta Kukeli).

    14-16.07.2021, in Antwerp (BE), RC21 Conference on Sensing the City, Research project: From a former industrial neighbourhood to a creative class oasis: A case study of Karlín, the inner-city neighbourhood of Prague. Presentation (together with Greta Kukeli).


Urban and Regional Laboratory

Department of Social Geography
& Regional Development

Charles University in Prague
Faculty of Science

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128 43 Praha 2 - Nové Město

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Jiří Nemeškal
211 951 972

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