History and future of housing estates: quality of residential environment and residential satisfaction

Research Team Leader: 
RNDr. Petra Špačková, Ph.D.
Funded by: 
Czech Science Foundation
housing estates
residential satisfaction
residential mobility
residential environment quality
everyday life
place attachment


Project’s overview

Post-war housing estates (HEs) represent an important part of the housing stock in postsocialist countries and their development over the past decades is often discussed. Yet, in spite of relatively rich research evidence based on case studies, systematic and comprehensive research on housing estates in specific countries or regions is lacking. This project aims to bring new empirical knowledge about HEs in Czech cities using a comparative perspective and a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods. The project has three main interrelated aims: (1) to identify development trajectories of HEs in Czech cities; (2) to assess residential satisfaction of inhabitants and their attitudes towards residential mobility; (3) to understand everyday life in today's HEs, residents' attachment to place, and their relation to the material environment and social environment of HEs. The results will also contribute to developing theories in urban studies and are useful for planning and creating interventions in HEs.



Objective 1| Depicting and analysing different development trajectories of Czech housing estates

Therefore, the project aims to perform a secondary analysis of available historical and most up-to-date statistical data. We will study socio-demographic HEs population structure, as compared to other districts in the same settlement, and to HEs in other cities, and then systematically examine their development trajectories (for details see Research activity 2 below). We will specifically question the strength of path dependencies stemming from the location of HEs in regions with various economic orientation and the initial population composition under socialism as well as the influence of post-socialist development.

Objective 2| Patterns of residential satisfaction and attitudes towards residential mobility

The project aims to examine how residents of HEs in Czech cities perceive their neighbourhoods, to what extent they are dis/satisfied with their place of residence, considering their housing unit, building, and the neighbourhood, and find out what is the probability of them moving out (residential mobility), and their capacity to move out if they wished so. We aim to discover existing patterns in residential satisfaction in different HEs across Czech cities, and also to compare – in the capital city of Prague – these data with those for other types of housing areas. The project will gather data to follow this objective through large-scale surveys: housing estates survey and urban neighbourhoods survey – Prague survey,

Objective 3| Everyday life, place attachment, and local community

The project aims to generate in-depth knowledge about everyday life in today’s HEs, to understand the logic and patterns of place attachment, and the relations to the material environment and social environment in HEs. It searches to understand the mutual relation between the space of these urban areas, and patterns, strategies and tactics of everyday life (to use Michel de Certeau’s terminology), coping with everyday issues, or individual biographies, social networks, or local identity. HEs, in their variety and diversity, are still believed to be specific urban environments; we aim to analyse whether and how their residents’ lives, their rhythms and narratives, connect to and respond to the place of living and its history and present. The project plans to perform case study research in selected HEs in Prague, Brno and Ostrava as cities with different structural characteristics, regional position, and historical development. It will be based on a variety of methods and multi-sited ethnography.


Research team

Charles University, Faculty of Science

Petra Špačková (co-principal investigator)

Martin Ouředníček

Ondřej Špaček

Marie Horňáková

Jan Sýkora

Adela Petrovic

Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences

Slavomíra Ferenčuhová (co-principal investigator)

Jana Kočková