Abstract Romic 2015

Post-socialist urban transformation of Banja Luka

Ranka Perić Romić

Abstract: Th is paper discusses contemporary processes of urban transformation of Banja
Luka, which aff ect not only its morphology, but also the functional and social dimensions
of development. Th e rich cultural heritage of Banja Luka has created strong foundation
for future growth and development of this city. Certain specifi cs of socialist infl uence on
the development of urban areas did not miss Banja Luka, and they signifi cantly further
determined the possible ways, and speed, of development. Some of the specifi cs relate to the
national self-management and centralization and domination of social ownership over
private initiatives, and the absence of market mechanisms at all levels. Today Banja Luka
is characterized by the dominance of private initiatives in terms of housing development,
but also diff erent spatial planning regulations in the fi eld of reorganization and better
utilization of public spaces. Th e privatization of socially-owned enterprises resulted in the
domination of the capitalist mode of economy in which money and consumer culture are
permanent values and relations between competition and market games create unique
urban styles and ways of life. Among the actors who have been most intense in urban
change of Banja Luka, the most dominant are political and economic interests which are
in front of the real needs and interests of citizens. Th is paper will analyse the infl uence of
urban transformation onto the quality of life of residents in the city. It will also monitor
the relationship between the forces of domination of capitalist society that signifi cantly
aff ecting the urban transformation of Banja Luka on one hand, and neglect of the civil
sector initiative that seeks to create the city according to the needs of the citizen, on the

Keywords: transformation, socialism, market, reconstruction, privatization …