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The social topography of Zagreb — dichotomy of town and suburb

Institute for social research in Zagreb
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  • Economics
  • Education


Housing quality and educational structure, as indicators of socio-economic status, show that the centre of Zagreb is an almost homogeneous area of highest status, spreading northward from the Lower Town into the zone of mountain spurs. To the east and west status falls gradually; on the north edge the highest-status sector enters the zone of urbanized highland villages and the difference in status is somewhat more rapid. North of the railway line socio-economic status is fairly evenly distributed among city districts; south of the railway line the picture becomes much more complicated. The south-west segment nearer the city centre is almost uniformly middle-class. In the fringes new housing developments of relatively high status are gradually encroaching on the zone of older lower-class self-standing houses. In the south-east segment middle-class areas also lean on the city centre, but the decrease in status is very pronounced with distance from the centre, obviously because this is where the industrial zone is located. There is most diversity in the south part of the city. There the area between the river Sava and the railway line is planned as the new business centre, and parts of it have been reconstructed according to plan. Housing structure is more favourable here and the population has a higher socio-economic status. The south edge of the city consists of a series of new, planned residential settlements. The favourable education structure of their population and the modern infrastructure make them better areas, but their appearance, the actual size of the flats and the »silos« character of life differentiates them clearly from the elite central zones. Most of the periurban area is of lower socio-economic status and the indicators observed are much more homogeneous, which indicates that Zagreb still has a relatively small influence on the urban transformation of its environs, limited to narrow belts along the main roads. There is a tendency of population redistribution from centre to outskirts, and areas of higher status are appearing in the outer city zone. This indicates that Zagreb’s spatial structure is gradually moving in the same direction as that in cities of developed countries.

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