Housing and Urban Development in a Post-Soviet City: A Case Study of Vilnius, Lithuania
Milstead, Terence M. (author)
Miles, Rebecca (professor directing dissertation)
Eberstein, Isaac W. (outside committee member)
Connerly, Charles E. (committee member)
Carlson, Elwood D. (committee member)
Department of Urban and Regional Planning (degree granting department)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
A 2001-2002 survey designed and implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe, the Large Analysis and Review of European Housing and Health Survey (LARES), provides data on the number of households that had engaged in "do-it-yourself" home improvements within a one year period prior to December 2002 in several European cities. In this research, I use the WHO-LARES data to analyze patterns of home-related "do-it-yourself (DIY)" activities in the post-socialist housing context in 2001-2002, focusing on the city of Vilnius, Lithuania. Based on field work carried out in 2006-2007, I go on to discuss how the influence of these variables might operate, and the degree to which their influence appears to have increased or lessened over the last several years. In particular, I investigate whether DIY activities were/are occurring widely across the population, presumably because of the motivating effect of newly-acquired home ownership, or whether rates are higher in certain subgroups. In particular, I first seek to document whether or not DIY activities are more prevalent in and near the Old Town where officials are encouraging renovation through various policy instruments. I go on to investigate whether or not residents of particular housing types are more likely to engage in DIY activities or whether DIY activity is associated with the condition of buildings and open spaces between buildings, perceived quality of the local area, or the socioeconomic characteristics of residents. The extent to which residents across different parts of the city are improving their dwellings can provide an indication of whether home ownership has conferred a sense of "home pride" and/or responsibility among residents, as well as which neighborhood, building and household-level variables appear to exert an influence in this respect. In general, the findings of this research indicate that in 2001-2002 DIY activity in Vilnius appeared to be influenced by a series of physical, environmental and perceptual variables that are conceptually linked to the post-Soviet socio-political housing context. There were more commonalities across housing types than might be assumed in terms of the distribution of variables of interest, and differences were greater within housing types than across them. Within this context DIY activities were fairly prevalent across Vilnius households in 2000-2001. Of the factors included in statistical models only the resident's perception of the quality of their area was associated with a significant increase in the odds of undertaking DIY activities. Despite housing policies designed to encourage renovation of residences in the Old Town, the rate of DIY activity was no greater in and near the city center than elsewhere in the city by 2001-2002. Lastly, aspects of the physical environment surrounding residential buildings, and the presence of graffiti and the condition of open spaces in particular, appear to be related to the prevalence of DIY activities in housing units, but not necessarily to the extent, nor in the direction, that might be expected. In 2006-2007, an increase in private automobile ownership, lack of parking space in panel block housing areas and the variable quality of newly-privatized municipal management companies also appear to be influencing such housing and neighborhood conditions. I conclude by discussing whether conditions that appear to have been influencing DIY activity in 2001-2002 persist in 2006-2007 and incorporate recommendations for future housing policy directions in Vilnius into our discussion of the findings.
Eastern Europe, Home Maintenance, Housing, Former Soviet Union
February 26, 2008.
A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Urban and Regional Planning in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Rebecca Miles, Professor Directing Dissertation; Isaac W. Eberstein, Outside Committee Member; Charles E. Connerly, Committee Member; Elwood D. Carlson, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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