Complex socio-ecological regeneration framework development of urban brownfields and working class neighborhoods

2023 —

Anna Varga PhD, Judit Dobák PhD, Gergely Papp, Diána Berecz, Georgina Kappeller, Lucie Chuchmakova, Sándor Guba and Péter Hámori (Gubahámori)

Gergely Papp

The project aims to address the challenges of rehabilitating urban brownfields in East-Central Europe by developing a comprehensive socio-ecological methodology framework in collaboration with local stakeholders. This framework will provide guidance for managing social, built, and natural heritage in a holistic manner, with applicability to similar contexts in the region. Focused on disadvantaged working-class neighborhoods in urban peripheries with significant industrial and mining legacies, the project aims to integrate cultural heritage with positive environmental and social outcomes. It builds upon stakeholder engagement processes at both neighborhood and urban scales, involving relevant local government departments, residential communities, civil organizations, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), with ongoing testing in two post-industrial locations in Hungary. The project seeks to uncover the layers of contemporary living heritage, foster shared knowledge among stakeholders, and develop and promote a methodology framework for adaptive urban landscape management that leverages and scales up natural and built heritage assets.

In the East-Central European urban landscape, numerous brownfield sites near working-class neighborhoods await revitalization, often overlooked amidst narratives of nation-building and market interests. Situated in areas once bustling with mining and heavy industry, these sites hold untapped potential for sustainable urban transformation. Existing cultural, built, social, and natural heritage are frequently neglected in redevelopment efforts. By recognizing, interconnecting, and framing these elements within a complex socio-ecological approach, a community-led urban green transition can be catalyzed, fostering environmental sustainability and social inclusion.