Thesis defence Rûta Ubarevičienė: Socio-spatial change in Lithuania

29 September 2017 10:00 - Location: Aula TU Delft - By: Communication BK

On 29 September, Rûta Ubarevičienė will defend her PhD thesis 'Socio-spatial change in Lithuania. Depopulation and increasing spatial inequalities'.

Promotor: Prof.dr. M. van Ham

Abstract

Since the 1990s Lithuania’s geopolitical and economic position has radically shifted from being a relatively affluent and prosperous region in the Soviet Union to a relatively poor country on the periphery of the European Union. The transition period was accompanied by a sharp population decline, which makes Lithuania one of the fastest shrinking countries in the world today. Furthermore, in the socialist period, planning policy focused on decentralisation and sought to limit the growth of the major Lithuanian cities. Now most of the economic growth and demographic potential is concentrated in a few metropolitan regions, particularly in Vilnius. Extreme population decline and uneven spatial development can be seen as a threat to the economic and social stability of Lithuania.

The aim of this thesis is to gain more insight into the recent socio-spatial transformation processes and their consequences in Lithuania. This thesis investigates the main features and drivers of socio-spatial change. It shows why we should be concerned, despite the growing economy and improvements in the standard of living, as Lithuania is facing major challenges related to extreme population decline and increasing socio-spatial inequality. The results of this study provide a better understanding of the development processes and reveal how the Soviet-designed socio-spatial structures adapted to a market economy environment.