Open Access

Fast and uncoordinated suburbanization of Vilnius in the context of depopulation in Lithuania


Like many other Central and Eastern European countries Lithuania has been experiencing significant socio-spatial transformations since the 1990s. One of the most prominent of these transformations is associated with the residential suburbanization of its major cities. The suburbs are the only areas in Lithuania where the population has been growing in recent decades, while the country has lost almost one quarter of its population. Although, extensive urban growth is a common feature for all large Lithuanian cities, it is more noticeable in Vilnius. Due to its historical and geographical context, Vilnius, and the region surrounding it, is in an area where rural-urban transformation also means transformation of the social, ethnic, and political landscape. The aim of this article is to obtain more insight into the recent process of the fast, but weakly controlled, residential suburbanization of Vilnius. The focus is on understanding the scale of suburbanization and its impact on the social and physical environment. In this study, we use quantitative data on population and residential constructions as well as presenting some visual material. Our results show that the new suburban-style settlements are spatially dispersed. New residential areas have emerged within the city limits, along its administrative boundary as well as in the most peripheral parts of the Vilnius metropolitan region. In terms of the morphology and physiognomy, a great suburban diversity exists in and around Vilnius, and different building styles are mixed creating a rather chaotic landscape, with little interference from urban planners and no clear vision for the future.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Geosciences, Geography, Atmospheric Science and Climatology, Life Sciences, Plant Science, Ecology