Planning Capital Cities

(Barré) #1

The subject of this very timely and interesting publication is the development
and urbanism of the three capital cities Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia. These
capitals are located in a region, which is often neglected and rarely in the focus
of the European scientific and political attention. Interestingly, they are the
capitals of two EU member countries, Bulgaria and Romania, and of a candidate
country, Serbia. This fact shows the artificial and spiritual boundaries we are
still confronted with in Europe.

The regional neighborhood and the approximately comparable historic
background make the three cities a unite object of research. Their development
is closely connected to the delayed nation building process and the nomination
for capitals. This is especially true for the unification and transition of different
regions into the new state of Romania. But it is also true for the other two
countries in their fight for sovereignty. It is not by chance, that often in the past,
but sometimes even today, the name of the capital is used when reference
is made to the state. Therefore today‘s capitals are synonymous for their
respective nations and the state as a whole. They represent and symbolize the
successful formation of the nation by bringing together different people and
cultures into one state and a capital where the government and the important
institutions are located.

One of the big questions for the future of all capital cities is their role
in a common Europe without borders on the one hand and the ongoing
globalization on the other. Cities in general and capital cities in specific will
have to find new roles and tasks. With a growing urbanization worldwide they
will be more and more defining our living conditions, irrespective of national
boundaries and historic identities. They must be able to bring together
people of different cultural origins and different lifestyles and to create a
future, out of their diverse past, which is accepting and promoting diversity

Hannes Swoboda


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