Flagship developments and the physical upgrading of post-socialist inner city: The Golden Angel project in Prague
TEMELOVÁ, J. (2007): Flagship developments and the physical upgrading of post-socialist inner city: The Golden Angel project in Prague. Geografiska Annaler, 89B, č. 2, s. 169-181.
Over the past few decades many urban leaders have searched for an appropriate policy response to tackle urban decay. Various kinds of flagship projects emerged in many cities as the products of a property‐led approach to the regeneration strategies adopted by local governments in North American and European cities. It was expected that the creation of high‐profile milieux would launch chain reactions which would eventually lead to the regeneration of declining neighbourhoods.
The focus of this study lies in the anatomy of physical transformation in an inner city neighbourhood within the context of post‐socialist transition. In particular, the paper discusses the flagship role of the Golden Angel commercial centre in the physical upgrading of the Smíchov district in Prague. The case study contributes to the understanding of complex circumstances and mechanisms of revitalization in the post‐socialist inner city. The empirical material is based on field observations, expert opinions and existing documents.
The paper shows that a high‐profile project can be one of the driving forces in physical revitalization through the provision of symbolic power, credibility and appeal to a declining neighbourhood. At the same time, it is emphasize that physical transformation is a multi‐conditional and context‐related process rather than an automatic and straightforward outcome of flagship developments. Successful revitalization depends on a favourable constellation of various factors. On the local level, the key factors include the development potential of the location, the attitude of the local authorities and the commitment of all involved actors.