Prior to 1990 urban development in Hungary – similarly to other spheres of the socioeconomic system – was influenced and controlled to a large extent by the state. Just like in other state socialist countries, urban development was a central focus of the planning system. After World War II industry and industrialisation were considered by the communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe to be the only possible way to catch up with the west. Cities and industry became symbols of modernity while villages and agriculture meant the evil backward past (Grime and Kovács 2001). As a consequence emphasis was placed on the development of heavy industry from the early 1950s onwards which in turn resulted in continuous concentration of the population and very dynamic urban growth. Urban processes such as urban sprawl or gentrification of inner urban neighbourhoods that are characteristic for the western part of Europe were unknown here (Kovács 1999). The collapse of state socialism generated far-reaching social and economic transformations in Central and Eastern Europe after 1990. These processes led to fundamental changes in the urban system and the spatial organisation of cities. Thus 1990 represented a new era in the urban and regional development of these countries (Fassmann 1997).