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Reinventing a Model Socialist Steel Town in the Neoliberal Economy: The Case of Nowa Huta, Poland



This article examines how a former Polish industrial town reinscribes its past and reinvents its public image in the context of simultaneous political and economic changes. Nowa Huta was originally built as the country's model socialist town. Then, following the collapse of the socialist government and the adoption of democratic and neoliberal economic reforms, it experienced both deindustrialization and political marginalization on account of its association with the previous regime. This article examines current initiatives aimed at revitalizing the town's economy and public image. It argues that the process of reinventing and revitalizing Nowa Huta has many parallels with deindustrializing cities across the North Atlantic. At the same time, in Poland this process is additionally inflected by the country's socialist legacy. The article thus aims to elucidate how processes such as deindustrialization, globalization and neoliberalism are worked out in concrete places and with relation to local politics and histories.