Budapest: Continuing Struggle to Save the 7th District
by Samuel D. Gruber
(ISJM) Ben Harris of the Jewish Telegraphic agency brings us up to date with a new story on the struggle to preserve some historic and community character in Budapest's Seventh District- the traditional home of much of the city's Jewish population, and the site of much Jewish history and culture. Ever since the fall of Communism 20 years ago, the District has been the target of development - much of it badly planned and short sighted. The destruction of the historic character of the District is estimated as high as 40%. The area is prized by office and condo developers especially because of its immediacy to the center of Budapest.
While many of the well-known synagogues in the areas have been restored, much of the urban fabric - including great apartment blocks - has been altered, or entirely replaced be new construction. Apart from its Jewish past, the area's urban and cultural role in Budapest has been much like that of New York's Upper West Side, and similar to the Upper West Side, change has come quickly after decades of relative architectural and social stability.
You can read the article here:
Coalition fights real estate development in Budapest’s Jewish quarter by Ben Harris • November 24, 2009
Ruth Ellen Gruber has followed the changes in the District over two decades. She comments on her blog about Ben Harris' article, and on some of the changes. You can read a JTA story by Ruth about the topic from 2004 here.