Suburbanizing Sofia: Context, Characteristics, and Meanings of Post-Socialist Spatial Development


Fellowships for Postdoctoral Research in East European Studies


Urban Affairs and Planning


This research examines the social and physical characteristics of the suburbs around the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. The suburbs are the signature contribution of post-socialism to the city. Yet they remain largely unexamined. The main hypothesis is that while cities like Sofia are suburbanizing--a process well known from the history of capitalist urbanization--their suburbs exhibit aspects specific to the post-socialist context. Unlike Western suburbs, the post-socialist suburbs are class-heterogeneous. They also include a very high proportion of explicitly private spaces--spaces guarded by formidable walls. By studying the suburbs, the project highlights the unique dynamics of post-socialist social segregation, and the tension between the post-socialist public and private realms.