Eastern Europe had been at the forefront of discussions on the global nature of urbanism during the 1990s, but lost its theoretical influence in the past 10 to 15 years because of various reasons. The objective of this paper is to reconsider the role of Eastern Europe as a semi-peripheral region in global urbanization processes. It extends the theoretical discussion about the unevenness of global urban development, primarily through the case of Budapest (Hungary), and one of its districts, Józsefváros.
After a literature review of the conceptualization of the semi-periphery in urban studies, two case studies are presented. The first example is looking at the equalization part of uneven development, how an urban redevelopment project in the 1970s and 1980s ran (with its successes and failures) parallel to global economic cycles of capitalism. The second example puts the differentiation part of uneven development into focus, and analyses the large-scale urban redevelopment of Józsefváros, with the help of global capital flows and private investments into the area – capitalising on the higher profitability of investments in Eastern Europe, compared to core countries.
The main result of combining uneven development, Eastern Europe and the empirical case study is a call for re-conceptualisation of Eastern Europe in urban theories.