A century of town planning of the town of Košice

Ján Sekan


At the turn of the 20th century, only the most important cities of our region had a general zoning plan. The zoning plans of smaller cities started to develop in the inter-war period, but only after the World War II the previously marginal discipline of town planning started to boom. Many plans made during this period that were neither published nor archived in museums are getting lost. By loosing these, we are also loosing the opportunity to learn about the history of the development of our cities. Since Košice was one of the most important cities of both the Austro – Hungarian Empire and Czechoslovakia, the planning started relatively soon, in the 19th century. During this time the methodology of planning has not yet been set. Later, in the anticipation of the end of the World War I, an ambitious development plan was created, which was supposed to guide the city’s expected development. This gave rise to a competitive atmosphere between teams of architects, resulting in a regulation plan in the year 1921. The complexity of the plan, however, did not allow for its realization during the time of the 1st Czechoslovak Republic. Instead, the city was being built on an ad hoc basis.

The regulation plans from the inter-war period are lost.  The first post-war territorial plan was designed by Bohuslav Fuchs, a well known Czechoslovak architect. Fuchs developed a concept for a new residential area in the western periphery of the city, which became a guideline for the city’s development in the following 20 years. The modern methods employed by Fuchs, however, were not compatible with the ideologies of the emerging communist regime. Therefore, a new zoning plan was employed, which fit the principles of communist totalitarian aesthetic. Modern methods of urban planning re-established only in the period of de-stalinization. In 1961 a zoning plan was adopted, the realization of which gave Košice its contemporary image. In the 60s and 70s a period of rapid growth was caused by the establishment of a gigantic ironworks on the periphery of the city, doubling the population of Košice as well. The next territorial plan from the mid-70s changed the previously compact city into an agglomeration. The fall of communism, however, did not allow for the objectives of the plan to be met. This research work aims to gather relevant zoning plans of Košice, archival materials, literature and press records to recreate the story of the development of Košice in the 20th century.

Keywords: town, planning, Košice, 20th century, urban design, development