Housing the New Identity: Images of a Good Life in the Post-Socialist City

    • Cover Conference Prague
    • Presentation speakers
      • Dalia Čiupailaitė-Višnevska, Vilnius University, Lithuania


    A new society, wrote Henry Lefebvre, needs a new space. In this presentation I’ll present the analysis of the new housing estates built after 2000s in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, as the locus of the new urban identity in a post-socialist city. The image of a city in the temporally and spatially post-socialist site is constructed via the new urban structures. As an exemplary place to look for the cultural notions of what constitutes a good city and how to properly live in it in post-socialist circumstances, I explore the images of the city that are implicated in new housing projects, since housing, or even further – the idea of house and home, express social values: they incarnate general ideas about society and how to live in it. I analyze the new housing projects as representations of space, following the Henri Lefebvre’s definition, as the visions of the city drawn by planners, government and architects, that although not necessarily translating directly into the spatial practices and experiences of citizens, constitute a benchmark according to which real places are evaluated and have a wider resonance as new norms of city living. I address housing estates as narratives, first, as material narratives suggesting the way of proper living in the new conditions and second, symbolical narratives, stories suggested by the real estate developers about a good life in a post-socialist city. I claim, that the relation of the space in post-socialism to socialism is in fact twofold: it is a paradigm of breakage and continuity.