Development and Contemporary Usage of Waterfronts in some Hungarian medium-sized Towns.
The course focuses on interrelationships between nature, urban design and social trends in three Hungarian and one Slovakian medium-sized towns lying along the Danube: Vác, Komárom/Komárno and Győr. Actually, the Danube is the most important cultural axis in Central European urban development. The medium-sized towns situated between Vienna and Budapest served not only for shipping and handling goods, but also for cultural exchange between German speaking regions and the Balkans (See for example the orthodox churches in townscapes of Vác, Komárono or Szentendre).
The view from the waterfront, as a special moment of historical representation (skyline) is a common feature of these towns. Also the waterfronts served the very regular needs of economic life. Representative churches, fortifications and other massive buildings on one side, and colourful market places, modest housing of the underclass on the other side, defined the waterfronts until the 19th century. The railway brought about a new situation, as it created industrial zones below the river. In the same time were established urban parks (promenades) directly connected to the historical townscape. The promenade was the starting point of the new waterfront usage, like leisure and sports. Not the least, it was an important element in the process of creating culture heritage because of the aesthetical interpretation of waterfront.
The second part of the course focuses on contemporary usage of waterfronts, based on empirical surveys carried out by the lecturer. The empirical part also provides elaboration of methodological tools for students: how they should measure the social actions and trends in the space. The result of empirical surveys display why the people visit the waterfront, what kind of sectors occur within the waterfront, and in the case of Komárom/Komárno: how the border affects waterfront usage.