Planning Capital Cities. Belgrade, Bucharest, Sofia
Grigor Doytchinov/Alexandra Dukić/Cǎtǎlina Ionitǎ (eds.)
Graz: Publishing Company of Graz University of Technology, 2015
English, 289 pages, paperback
The aim of the publication Planning Capital Cities is to detect some uniform ideas in the urbanism of Belgrade, Bucharest, and Sofia and to point out equal ideas as marks of this uniformity. The assumption that the urbanism of the three capitals shows semantic links is based on some frame conditions, offering arguments for a cultural unification: the primary factor for the similarity is the regional neighborhood as a factor for coexistence and interference. The secondary factor is the comparable urban history. Both factors are a precondition for a similar urban spatial organization and a cultural heritage in its broad sense. Some historical facts offer convincing arguments for the analogy and, respectively, their differentiation from the Central and Western European capitals and examination as related objects of research: the Ottoman rule as the pre-modern period, the delayed infiltration of the capitalist economy and nation-building, the European cultural influences, dominating since the nineteenth century, and finally the unstable geopolitical order of the region, which reflects on the principles of urbanism. The review is carried out chronologically and takes a phased approach to highlighting the approximation and dissociation of the ideas in the urbanism of the capital cities.
The authors or editors Mihai Alexandru, Aleksandra Djukić, Grigor Doytchinov, Maria Duda, Hristo Ganchev, Harald Heppner, Cǎtǎlina Ionitǎ, Eva Vaništa Lazarević, Mirjana Roter-Blagojević, Nikola Samardžić, Monica Sebestyen, Angelica Stan, Miruna Stroe, Hannes Swoboda, Andrea Udrea, Yani Valkanov, and Milena Vukmirović.
Grigor Doytchinov worked in the Institute of Urban Design at Graz University of Technology starting in 1992 and as of October 2004 assumed the role of university professor before retiring in September 2015.