Since the election of the current mayor of Budapest, Gergely Karácsony, who is a member of the Dialogue for Hungary opposition party, the communication and relationship between the government and Budapest’s leadership has rather been all over the place. It seems like there is a disconnect between the two and there are several developments in which their opinions are in contrast to one another.
The most recent topics concern Hungarian higher education. The government has been transforming universities from state-run institutions to ones operated by foundations. This has sparked some debate, along with the possibility of the Chinese Fudan university establishing a campus in Budapest. This has sparked several questions about the competition, security, and the fact that it would possibly be built in an area of Budapest that has been reserved for a student city.
But this is not even the full list. According to Index, the latest point of conflict is a new
measure that, if entered into effect, would not allow the Budapest municipality to decide on the maximum height of the buildings in the so-called rust zones (rozsdaövezet).
The rust zones are “former industrial, economic, or abandoned and unused military areas that have been disused or underutilised, usually in a deteriorating physical condition and/or polluted”.
The Socialists have expressed their concern on Facebook, showing a photograph of the MOL Tower, which is currently under construction, saying that even though they would want to create a greener Budapest, the government’s measures such as this one do not make it easy and might straight-up prevent it.
They are also concerned that the municipalities will soon lose even more of their power and influence over what can be done in their respective cities.
Hopefully, these debates will soon be resolved and the two parties will find a reasonable solution to the problem. Development is inevitable, but it is definitely important to preserve the beautiful façades that are so characteristic of the streets of Budapest.