Book_Restless Cities: Lessons from Central Europe


What is sustainable (in) urban development?

Policies or Politics? Which one do you choose?

Very often we are faced with events or books presenting ‘best practices’ in urban design and planning. However, links to politics and the successful execution of political action are frequently missing from these presentations. With some exceptions architects and urban planners do not speak about politics often – perhaps this implies that the administration and legal system are functioning well and that when the project or proposal is brought to the city hall, political support for it is guaranteed. However, behind the scenes, all architects and urban planners will tell you that politics and policies in urban planning are the most important aspects. How else do we get things done? It is here that the grey and complex world of stronger or weaker municipalities, regulations, places of political negotiations and fights open up. Here is where architects, experts or activists enter with their work, ideas or expectations and then do not know how to move forward.

Restless Cities: Lessons from Central Europe is a publication that reflects a year-long training programme of the Prague office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation focusing on understanding the political aspects of urban planning in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. It consists of four thematic chapters that offer introductions into social housing in Brno, participatory processes in Prague, urban development of Bratislava and influencing strategies in Budapest.

The book consists of short texts by selected invited experts, participants' views, and key learnings about sustainability and politics. The authors of the texts are not only experts who contributed to the training programme, but also the participants themselves share their findings and views herein. We hope this book will help readers to understand the often-invisible areas where urban planning moves from the realm of expertise-only into the realm of political action and that it will inspire readers to further political learning and engagement.

See captions from the book

Book Launch, November 23rd, Bratislava, Goethe-Institut

Restless Cities: Lessons from Central Europe

First published in 2018 by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung e.V., Prague Office,

Opatovická 28, 110 00 Prague 1
ISBN: 978-80-907076-9-6

This material is licensed under Creative Commons ‘Attribution-NonCommercial - No Derivatives 4.0 International Public License’. For the licence agreement, see: and a summary (not a substitute) at: legalcode

Exception: photos by Karel Cudlin on page 32. and 55. are licensed as all rights reserved.

The findings and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung.

Edited by:

Milota Sidorová and Zdeňka Lammelová

with contributions by

Dominika Belanska, Zsuzsa Berecz, Milan Brlík, Katarzyna Dorda, Albert Eckert, Zoltán Erdos, Alica Sigmund Heraáková, Michal Kohout, Ctibor Kostal, Zuzana Kuldová Pavla Pelciková, Levente Polyák, Daniel Suchy, Rebeka Szabó, Ors Szokolay, David Tichy, Iván Tosics, Antonín Tym, Barbara Zavarská

Graphic design

Printscreen | Waldek Węgrzyn

Translations from Czech and English-Language proofreading: Gwendolyn Albert

Translations from Slovak Language: Martina Miššíková

Translations from Hungarian Language Zsófia Deák

Further thanks to participants in the training Enhancing Sustainable urban Development in local politics

Hana Bruhová Foltýnova, Eduard Donauer, Michaela Dudáčková, Zdeněk Ent, Jan Harciník, Mirka Hlinciková, Garance Malivel, Juraj Marček, David Oplatek, Karolína Plášková, Derek Robinson and all the people who shared their thoughts and practical experiences on urban development in politics with us. Those interactions became a key inspiration for this book.


Text set in RePublic (Suitcase Type Foundry) and Adelle Sans (Typetogether)


pp. 6–7: Zdeňka Lammelová, p. 8: Zdeňka Lammelova, p. 12: Milota Sidorová, p. 23: Zuzana Kuldová, p. 47: Zdeňka Lammelová, p. 75: Zdeňka Lammelová p. 101: Milota Sidorová, p. 127: Zdeňka Lammelová, p. 128: Zdeňka Lammelová

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PBtisk a.s.
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