Anatomy of a Street was conceived to address the urban transformation of Central European cities, by focusing on one particular street or neighbourhood in the participating cities. These streets, functioning as ‘main streets’ in their neighbourhoods, like Király utca in Budapest, can be regarded as ‘mises-en-abyme’ of their city where one can find spectacular juxtapositions of traces of all major dynamisms of urban transformation: immigration, privatisation, public space renovation, gentrification, corruption, globalisation, the disappearance of public food markets, new architecture, civic engagement, etc. By parallel research and an interrelated mapping of the social and spatial metamorphosis of these streets in Budapest, Pécs, London, Warsaw and Belgrade, the project envisioned to investigate the transformation of urban ‘High Streets’ in Eastern and Western Europe, in respect and contrast to each other.
Anatomy of a Street is a nomadic project, unfinished by definition, which developed into a series of study trips – both driving and feeding back into our research. The publication consists of three chapters, (three separate volumes subsequently bound together), but originally published separately in three phases, as the documentation and diary of the research and related events, as well as essays and other contributions by academics, writers, artists and architects. From the back to the front: chapter one, Anatomy of a Street: An introduction, focuses on the Király Streets in Budapest and Pécs, providing the starting point for our exhibition on Church Street in Paddington, London, documented in chapter two: Revisiting Church Street; while chapter three, Central Europe Between Informal Interventions and Formal Organisations, is based on a travelling symposium between Budapest, Warsaw and Bratislava, and includes a small selection of papers and presentations delivered on the occasion of these meetings. In short, this publication is only one dimension of a research project comprising workshops, a travelling symposium, an exhibition and other events.