Vacant Buildings in Public Ownership: In What Ways do Selected European Capitals' Authorities Approach the Issue and How Can their Strategies Serve as an Example for the City of Prague

Alzbeta Stranska

Student thesis: Master thesis


Our urban landscape is undergoing rapid changes. Gentrification is once again opening up issues about the value of public space and availability of housing. Municipalities and residents alike are looking for ways to shape the future of their cities; one of them is to utilise vacant properties for maximum societal benefit. This thesis maps out approaches to vacant, publiclyowned properties in four European cities, Prague, Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen. Qualitative data gathered through in-depth interviews with important actors from the urban development area (municipality workers, civic activists, theorists) are then analysed and possible strategies of working with vacant properties are outlined. The main focus is on the city of Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, which as a post-soviet city, has evolved through different development compared to the capitals of the „West‟. This juxtaposition as a source for comparison is the reason behind the decision to use selected western metropoles as potential guides or inspiration for Prague. The research question then stands as “Vacant buildings in public ownership: In what ways do selected European capitals‟ authorities approach the issue and how can their strategies serve as an example for the city of Prague?“ The main findings are that neoliberal practices have been short sighted and unequally benefit society, keeping public property in public holding is important, and bottom-up organising and engagement is critical. Most positive examples involved a combination of laws, policies, political will, and social desire to deal with the vacancy issue. Ultimately, it is concluded that due to Prague‟s current level of (local) political culture, but also the extent of civic sector involvement, the city is not completely ready to apply policies used abroad.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages96