All posts by swolf

The Czech Republic’s Urbanization Quandary

Prague, The Czech Republic’s largest populated city (1.3 million inhabitants), is known as the aging city. There is an increasing amount of people over the age of forty than that of younger adults and children. Fourteen percent of the vibrant and historic city’s population comes from abroad. “Businesses across Europe have come to Prague to house their headquarters and the city now accounts for 25% of the Czech Republic’s GDP. The city is now home to more service-oriented businesses such as hospitality, finance and commercial services with these sectors making up 80% of its business activity. 20% is still given over to industry based businesses.” Densely populated cities, and there are very few of them, like Prague, have been a name to fame for The Czech Republic’s 4.7% economic growth in 2017.

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The city of Prague populated with multi-story red-roofed houses. 

The Czech Republic has been facing a constant growth rate in urbanization (~73%) each year since 2006. About 35% of the Czech labor force is employed in manufacturing, the highest proportion of any EU country.

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Sub-urbanization, commonly referred to as urban sprawl,  is generally viewed as a negative process; but this is likely caused by overflow from the largely populated cities such as Prague, Brno and Moravia Silesia. This process demands a commercial industrialization to the more rural areas, traffic lights, highways and shopping centers flood to these areas where there is a more steady growing population.

All of this sounds good, right? Sadly, there is more to this story which includes industrial areas and rural areas trying to hold on to their economy and culture as populists benefit.  There is a significant divide between socialists and capitalists, “The ideological principles behind the allocation of housing in actual socialism illustrate the systemic difference with capitalism: ‘1) housing should be a universal provision, not a market commodity; and 2) its production and distribution should not be a means of unearned income.’” This drastic change from socialism to capitalism has left many in the dust (around 70,000 homeless and unemployed Czechs).

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In order to accommodate for this greater than  70% urban population, the Czech Government needs to invest in sub-urbanization. The built up and historical cities, like Prague and Brno, have a good standing system. But when the cities overflow and become completely overpopulated, citizens will need somewhere to go and not become another statistic for the homeless and unemployed population.