Research Task. A Walk through Lyukovolgy.

1) Read the following text about the informal settlement of Lyukóvölgy.

In the outskirts of Miskolc there is an informal settlement well-known to Hungarians called Lyukóvölgy. This is believed to be the biggest informal settlement in Hungary with around five thousand inhabitants. This was an allotment garden area that due to the environmental conditions never could be transformed into an urban residential area. Part of the inhabitants of Lyukóvölgy live there semi-formally in the more or less improved houses and others built different shacks informally. 

2) Using Google Street View you can visit parts of Lyukóvölgy. 
You may notice by the quality of different buildings that the place is very likely inhabited temporarily or permanently by quite diverse social groups.

Assuming that you have downloaded on your computer the “kml” files provided as part of this e-module, you can now proceed to open them from Google Earth. To do that you have to go to “Projects” click on “New Project” -> “Import KML file from computer”.  The file is called ‘Lyukovolgy Miskolc.kmz’. More detailed instructions are provided in the e-module A Walk Through Makoko.

Once the file is opened the view will shift to Lyukóvölgy and display the area we have marked as a slightly transparent polygon. We chose the colour and the level of opacity, but you can change the properties of polygons within Google Earth and then save the new version on your disk or as a project in Google Earth. If you choose the second option next time you open Google Earth your project will appear ready to be loaded.

The polygon does not coincide with the administrative area of Lyukóvölgy, which we don’t know for sure. It just marks approximately the location of the area. In the case of informal settlements from the perspective of human habitation the administrative boundaries are less important than the actual built area. Informal settlements sometimes tend to transcend the “official” boundaries.  

You can walk around and have a look to get an impression how the place looks like.

3) Watch parts of this film, produced by the Danube Region Foundation.

The film is in Hungarian so you may not be able to understand what the protagonist says but you will still understand a lot about the living conditions, daily life and commutation of some poor inhabitants of Lyukóvölgy. Actually, a film in an ungraspable language is a good starting point to reflect on how much we can learn and understand just by observing.

One of the persons who posted comments below the film described Lyukóvölgy as “once picturesque place, which now looks as a complete chaos to the stranger” who may venture in the surroundings. This is an area of allotment gardens, which has turned into a permanent home for some 5000 persons. Transformation from allotment gardens to an informal settlement has created a characteristic mix of formality and informality and paralleled by the social mix of permanent and seasonal dwellers. 

4)     Read this article using the google translation service to get a better understanding of the most deprived part of the Lyukóvölgy settlement. The article  published in English describes the hardship created by the lack of piped water. 

Take notes on the following questions:

  • How do people in Lyukóvölgy obtain water in a situation of informality where no public authority is in charge of providing access to piped water? 
  • Can you think of other examples from Europe or elsewhere of informal settlements where access to water is not granted. 
  • What kind of strategies do people there apply to access water for drinking and other household needs?

Last modified: Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 2:11 PM