Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Residential Differentiation, Housing Policy and Urban Planning in the Transformation from State Socialism to a Market Economy: The Case of Tallinn

Sampo Ruoppila

Doctoral dissertation, August 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Policy.

The thesis examines urban issues arising from the transformation from state socialism to a market economy. The main topics are residential differentiation, i.e., uneven spatial distribution of social groups across urban residential areas, and the effects of housing policy and town planning on urban development. The case study is development in Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, in the context of development of Central and Eastern European cities under and after socialism.

The main body of the thesis consists of four separately published refereed articles. The research question that brings the articles together is how the residential (socio-spatial) pattern of cities developed during the state socialist period and how and why that pattern has changed since the transformation to a market economy began. The first article reviews the literature on residential differentiation in Budapest, Prague, Tallinn and Warsaw under state socialism from the viewpoint of the role of housing policy in the processes of residential differentiation at various stages of the socialist era. The paper shows how the socialist housing provision system produced socio-occupational residential differentiation directly and indirectly and it describes how the residential patterns of these cities developed. The second article is critical of oversimplified accounts of rapid reorganisation of the overall socio-spatial pattern of post-socialist cities and of claims that residential mobility has had a straightforward role in it. The Tallinn case study, consisting of an analysis of the distribution of socio-economic groups across eight city districts and over four housing types in 1999 as well as examining the role of residential mobility in differentiation during the 1990s, provides contrasting evidence. The third article analyses the role and effects of housing policies in Tallinn's residential differentiation. The focus is on contemporary 'post-privatisation' housing-policy measures and their effects. The article shows that the Estonian housing policies do not even aim to reduce, prevent or slow down the harmful effects of the considerable income disparities that are manifest in housing inequality and residential differentiation. The fourth article examines the development of Tallinn's urban planning system 1991-2004 from the viewpoint of what means it has provided the city with to intervene in urban development and how the city has used these tools. The paper finds that despite some recent progress in planning, its role in guiding where and how the city actually developed has so far been limited. Tallinn's urban development is rather initiated and driven by private agents seeking profit from their investment in land.

The thesis includes original empirical research in the three articles that analyse development since socialism. The second article employs quantitative data and methods, primarily index calculation, whereas the third and the fourth ones draw from a survey of policy documents combined with interviews with key informants.

Keywords: residential differentiation, housing policy, urban planning, post-socialist transformation, Estonia, Tallinn

The title page of the publication

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Last updated 13.07.2006

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