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Spaces of Priority: The Geography of Soviet Housing Construction in Daugavpils, Latvia
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Sociology. Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, SCOHOST (Stockholm Centre on Health of Societies in Transition).
2010 (English)In: Annals of the Association of American Geographers, ISSN 0004-5608, E-ISSN 1467-8306, Vol. 100, no 1, 112-136 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

As a result of the absence of a land market, socialist-era cities tended to look different from their market-economy equivalents. The difference was made more pronounced by the fact that the command economy also favored industrial investment over infrastructure and housing. Yet, with an increasing appetite for additional labor, needed by production units to ensure plan fulfillment, housing became a means to recruit and retain employees. Not all employers could afford to put resources into such ononproductiveo investment, however, and the literature suggests that the notion of priorities allows for discriminating between those enterprises that enjoyed soft budget constraints, and therefore could afford to spend money on worker welfare, and those that could not. As a heuristic framework based on the economics of shortage, the priority model is compelling, but as yet it lacks empirical substantiation. Setting out to test the landscapes of priority model of urban development, this article details the developments of housing construction in Daugavpils, Latvia, during the Soviet period. Based on extensive archive and field research covering all newly constructed or converted housing projects over the period from 1951 to 1991, it yields considerable, if not unqualified, support for the model that until now has not been made subject to systematic empirical tests.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 100, no 1, 112-136 p.
Keyword [en]
housing, landscapes of priority, Latvia, shortage economics, Soviet Union
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-9683DOI: 10.1080/00045600903378994ISI: 000277437100006ScopusID: 2-s2.0-77950913955OAI: diva2:428546
Available from: 2011-06-30 Created: 2011-06-30 Last updated: 2015-04-13Bibliographically approved

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Gentile, Michael
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