Managing Urban Heterogeneity: A Budapest Case Study of Historical Urban Landscape

  • György Alföldi
  • Melinda Benkő
  • Gábor SonkolyEmail author
Part of the Creativity, Heritage and the City book series (CHC, volume 2)


This article has a double objective. First, it defines the major challenges of contemporary urban heritage preservation through the specificities of the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach in order to determine an analytical framework to examine heritage cities and quarters from the perspective of heritage preservation. Second, it applies the analytical framework to assess current urban interventions in the 8th District (Józsefváros) (Józsefváros – “Josephtown” in English – was named after the Habsburg Emperor, Joseph II, in 1777. In this article, we refer to this district as “District” or under its Hungarian denomination) of Budapest. The research results help discuss the utility of the HUL approach.

In addition to the management of the general urban challenges of globalization, Józsefváros – the most heterogeneous administrative unit of Budapest’s historical center – must develop a variety of adaptation techniques, which fit its diverse built, social, cultural, and environmental legacy. Accordingly, the launching of an overall rehabilitation program for the District posed great dilemmas for decision-makers and designers. As a trailblazing decision among the districts of Budapest, the 8th District Municipality recognized this heterogeneity by the division of its territory into 11 quarters, which were determined by their specific character and heritage in 2005. Two opposite cases are selected to compare current urban intervention. Whereas the Magdolna Quarter Program was Hungary’s first truly integrated socially sensitive urban regeneration program, the one-time prestigious Palace Quarter boasts one of the highest densities of urban historic buildings in Europe, which are rehabilitated through the establishment of a new network of interior and exterior spaces with the participation of the locals.


Budapest Józsefváros HUL approach Participative urban planning and design Quarter-based regeneration Urban heritage Urban milieu Security Heritage territory Heritage community 


  1. Alföldi, G., & Horváth, D. (2009). Hogyan tovább? Egy részvételi folyamat fenntarthatóságának kérdései – tapasztalatok Budapest Józsefvárosából. Földrajzi Közlemények, 133(4), 510–515.Google Scholar
  2. Alföldi, G., Kolossa, J., & Sárkány, C. (2008). Komuntni centrum Rukavickárna. ERA21, 8(6), 23–25.Google Scholar
  3. Alföldi, G., Gerőházi, É., Somogyi, E., & Tosics, I. (2013). Integrated approach to social and economic inclusion. Cited 12. Oct 2017.
  4. Alföldi, G., ifj. Erdősi, S., & Horváth, D. (2015). Handouts for European Comission: 2nd European CITIES Forum – An Urban Agenda for Europe; Magdolna Book. Cited 12. Oct 2017.
  5. Ascher, F. (2001). Les nouveaux principes de l’urbanisme. Paris: L’Aube.Google Scholar
  6. Bandarin, F., & van Oers, R. (Eds.). (2015). Reconnecting the city. The historic urban landscape approach and the future of urban heritage. Oxford: Wiley–Blackwell.Google Scholar
  7. Benkő, M. (2010). Masséna: New campus of Paris. 4D Journal of Landscape Architecture and Garden Art, 19(3), 2–15.Google Scholar
  8. Benkő, M. (2011). Budapest urban blocks and their sustainability. Architektura & Urbanizmus, 45(3–4), 188–201.Google Scholar
  9. Benkő, M., & Germán, T. (2016). Crime prevention aspects of public space renewal in Budapest. Journal of Place Management and Development. Scholar
  10. Besse, J.-M. (2009). Le goût du monde: Exercices de paysage. Arles: Actes Sud/ENSP.Google Scholar
  11. Budapest. (2013). 77/2013. (XII.3.) Fővárosi Közgyűlési rendelet. Cited 20 July 2017.
  12. Déry, A. (2007). Józsefváros. Budapest: Terc Kiadó.Google Scholar
  13. Faurest, K., & Alföldi, G. (2015). Remaking the agora: The community-based design of Teleki Square. Topos, 91, 44–49.Google Scholar
  14. Foucault, M. (2009). Security, territory, population. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  15. Haba, P. (2008). The designing powers of a community, Culture Centre in Mátyás Square. Régi-Új Magyar Építőművészet.Google Scholar
  16. Hegedűs, J. (1999). Hungarian local government. In E. J. Kirchner (Ed.), Decentralization and transition in the visegrad: Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia (pp. 132–158). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hendriks, M. (2015). A series of art projects for urban regeneration in the Palace quarter. In Lae Foundation (Ed.), On the move #4, landscape architecture Europe (pp. 90–100). Blaudwdruk.Google Scholar
  18. Kondor, A. C., & Horváth, D. (2008). Challenges and experiences of a participative green space development in Budapest-Józsefváros. Urbani izziv, 19(2), 174–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pickard, R. (2016). Management strategies for historic towns in Europe. In Labadi & Logan (Eds.), Urban heritage, development and sustainability. International frameworks, national and local governance (pp. 151–174). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Rácz, A., & Alföldi, G. (2012). The continuous valorisation of the palace quarter. In D. Tihanyi (Ed.), Palotanegyed (pp. 10–13). Budapest: Józsefváros Önkormányzata.Google Scholar
  21. Sonkoly, G. (2017). Historical Urban Landscape. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Tihanyi, D. (Ed.). (2012). Palotanegyed. Budapest: Józsefváros Önkormányzata.Google Scholar
  23. UNESCO. (2005a). Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions. Cited 27 July 2015.
  24. UNESCO. (2005b). Declaration on the conservation of the historic urban landscapes. Cited 7 January 2016.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • György Alföldi
    • 1
  • Melinda Benkő
    • 1
  • Gábor Sonkoly
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Urban Planning and DesignBudapest University of Technology and EconomicsBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Faculty of HumanitiesEötvös Loránd University of BudapestBudapestHungary

Personalised recommendations