Suburb as a socio-spatial phenomenon and post-socialist city

  • Roman Lozynskyi Ukrainian Catholic University, st. Sventsitskoho 17, Lviv, 79000, Ukraine; Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Universytetska st 1, Lviv, 79000, Ukraine
Keywords: suburbs, peri-urban, urban planning, urban studies, social theory


The article analyzes the history of the emergence of the socio-spatial phenomenon of the suburbs in the Western world and in Ukraine. A comparison of suburbs in the Soviet Union (with regard to suburban villages, dachas and microraiony) and suburbs in the United States and Canada is presented. An understanding of the suburbs and its architectural / urban planning environment from the perspective of social theory is presented. It was found that the suburbs and their architectural environment were used in the propaganda of the United States and the Soviet Union to produce certain cultural meanings with economic and political consequences.

The subtleties of using the concept of the suburbs in the post-socialist context were considered. Based on the main socio-geographical characteristics of suburban areas of Ukrainian cities, it was found that the use of the concept of suburbs requires theoretical analysis in the post-socialist context and its distinction with the concepts of suburbia (direct imitation, written in Ukrainian as “субурбія”) and suburban space (“prymiskyi prostir”). It is argued that the spatial criterion and the criterion of connection with the city (suitable for the allocation of suburban space and suburban area) are insufficient to define the suburbs and do not reflect the complexity of this phenomenon. Important criteria for the allocation of suburbs are also the social status of residents, their daily practices, place and type of employment and leisure activities, which can be summarized as the identity of residents, as well as the type of residential architecture and character of everyday landscapes.

It was found that because Ukrainian suburban spaces are eclectic with a mixture of different social classes and housing, retain their rural face with the presence of farming, the concept of peri-urban or rural-urban fringe is a better term to describe the suburban area of post-socialist cities than the suburbs. Only certain parts of the suburban spaces tend to become American style suburbs with a predominance of single-family houses, one social class and car use. The theoretical features of understanding the phenomenon of the suburbs and more successful concepts for its definition in post-socialist conditions are important for the creation of more socially thought-out urban planning documentation and strategy for their development taking into account local characteristics.


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Author Biography

Roman Lozynskyi , Ukrainian Catholic University, st. Sventsitskoho 17, Lviv, 79000, Ukraine; Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Universytetska st 1, Lviv, 79000, Ukraine

Master of Science in Geography, Lecturer of the Department of Cultural Studies;

Engineer of the Department of Geography of Ukraine


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How to Cite
Lozynskyi , R. (2022). Suburb as a socio-spatial phenomenon and post-socialist city. Human Geography Journal, 32, 24-33.
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