Housing Estates in Towns

Bökényalj in Csongrád

Text: Regina Balla

bokeny1

Located in the Great Hungarian Plain, Csongrád has a population of 16 564 people and covers an area of 174 square kilometres. More than one fourth of its towndwellers live on the housing estate named Bökényalj which was built back in the 1970s. The ambitions of local urban development and rehabilitation could be realized thanks to the regulations of the waterways in the past century. The 1960s saw the start of industrialization in this town. Thanks to the boom of industries here and thinking in terms of the supposedly dynamic development, a 45 per cent growth rate of the population had been calculated by 1980. To suit this, flats of appropriate quality and quantity were needed for the community developing at this projected rate and scale. By 1967, the scale of population growth and the geographical issues of their settlement were outlined realistically. For this purpose an area of 1,572 hectares were allocated to be developed in the quarter named Bökény. The scheme of the housing estate was to include 1,572 flats to house 5,500 dwellers. However, only a total of 557 units were actually built. Today the blocks of flats in Bökény need extensive and intensive reconstructions and updating. Lots standing unused without an owner and the cultivated pieces of land directly linked to them reflect the unfinished nature of the housing estate. As a result, the inhabited zone is unable to operate as an integral urban unit. As it is, the most burning issue today seems to be to create a new image for the housing estate. However, in a town-scale it could be also extended to the context of this development. Direct links of the next-door neighbourhood actually counteract the architectural monotony of the cubes of the housing estate, and as a result, the various parts of the town interacting with each other tend to be less isolated. The housing estate has an exceptional position within this system: on the one hand, it is directly linked to the town centre, whilst on the other hand it is part of a unique natural landscape.