City identity of the Palace District

CaPE (Civils for the Palace District Association) is one of the most significant NGO in the heart of the District VIII. For years they have been active in organizing cultural programs for the residents, such as photo contests, Children's day programs, thematic walks in the district, open university and Palace District Forums.

For the second Shared Cities: Creative Momentum (SCCM) discussion which was held on 10 November 2016, Zoli Erdős, one of the active members of the Association was invited to share his experiences.

CaPE was founded by local merchants and bar owners about 10 years ago. At the beginning they carried out projects, which aimed to increase the green areas in District VIII and to beautify the neighborhood. Encouraged by the success of their initial projects a more complex and long-term strategic goal was formed: revitalization of inner-District VIII and creation of Palace District’s identity by raising awareness and promoting the local cultural heritage.

As a matter of fact there is no univocal definition for local or city identity. In one hand it means a person’s image about a given place, identifying the territory and distinguishing it from any other, on the other hand it means one’s ability to identify him/herself with the area. City/local identity can be created, however it is strongly connected to the historic era: being an inhabitant of District VIII had a completely different significance in the second half of 1800, when all the palaces were built and the neighborhood bloomed or after the World War II, which caused lot of damage and increased poverty in the area.

The rehabilitation programs, which took place from 2007/08, gave an opportunity to redefine the identity of the district. Among others, it can be thanked to CaPE, that through their historical researches and cultural community events a remarkably positive image was created and that the name “Palace District” born. 

CaPE will continue its cultural program series in order to bring together and strengthen the local community and will further deepen the cooperation with the local municipality and other NGOs. In their future project they will emphasize community planning and will seek more effective interactions. 

Shared Cities: Creative Momentum is a European cultural platform addressing the urban challenges of contemporary European cities. In an international cooperation of 11 partners from six different countries numerous events, programmes and researches will be implemented between 2016 and 2019. The project is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, the Hungarian partners are Contemporary Architecture Centre and Mindspace.