Coordinating planning with the market in post-socialist Sofia, Bulgaria
Although the interaction between planning and the market in urban development has been the subject of extensive research, its treatment in the literature is still problematic and controversial. Issues regarding this interaction remain topical for post-socialist urban planners, who are still lacking sufficient experience with planning in market conditions, especially when it comes to practice. The contribution of this study is that it identifies two practical approaches, through which urban planners can coordinate plans with markets. First, when setting planning goals, planners must critically assess the relationship between these goals and market demand. If market demand is distorted by market deficiencies, planning must look for opportunities to counteract and rectify distortions, but if market demand properly reflects the interests of stakeholders in urban development, planning must critically reassess its definition of the public interest. Second, when developing urban plans, planners must employ fiscal (financial, monetary) and market-oriented tools for their implementation. To study these relationships, the paper explores different aspects of development in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, as Sofia is a relevant example of the urban trends in post-socialist cities.
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