Sonia A. Hirt
- Assistant Professor
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
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.