According to the 2011 census, there were 829,177 panel apartements in Hungary (18.9% of the dwellings) and were home to 1,741,577 people (17.5% of the total population).
After the WWII a serious housing crisis was evolved in Hungary due to the rapid population growth and urbanization, the last one was triggered by the exodus of the rural population after the collectivization in the late 1940s and the early 1950s. Budapest and other industry-dominated cities became overcrowded, the situation called for government intervention. After several study visits and conventions, Hungary bought the large-panel system from the Soviet Union and Denmark in the early 1960s. The Danish technology was known as Larsen-Nielsen system and was a common housing method in several countries of Western Europe, in Turkey and Hong Kong too. By the late 1960s, Hungarian engineers developed the country's own large-panel system, which was regulated to the Hungarian actualities. The large-panel system was rapid and did not depend on seasons (winters are relatively cold in Hungary, so the constructions usually have to stop during cold weather, except the large-panel method).
The first panel residential building was built in Dunaújváros (new industrial city) in 1961, followed by other blocks is Pécs and Debrecen in 1963. The first housing factory (these works produced near all parts of these buildings, including the built-up kitchen units and the built-up wardrobes) was built in 1965.
The historic core of the Hungarian cities was surrounded by mostly one-storied buildings, workers houses and muddy streets until the 1960s, when the nationwide public housing program passed. These buildings were demolished and replaced with panel blocks, while other new neighbourhoods were built in former agricultural lands around the cities.
Panel apartements were real advancement for the Hungarian population; small, one-bedroom dwellings (predominantly without modern conviniences) replaced with two or three-bedroom, sun-flooded flats with teleheating, sewage disposal, flush toilet and piped hot water. According to the 1960 census, one-bedroom flats made up 60.2% of the dwellings in Budapest, decreased to 25.4% in 1990. During this period, the share of three or more bedroom dwellings rose from 8.7% to 35%. The last panel building was finished in 1993.
The Hungarian government and local municipalities started a renovation program during the 2000s. In the program they have insulated these buildings, replaced the old doors and windows with multi-layer thermo glass, renewed the heating system and colored the buildings in a more pleasant way.
These buildings still dominate the Hungarian cityscape, the share of panel dwellings is 31% in Budapest, 39.4% in Debrecen, 52% in Miskolc, 37.6% in Szeged, 41.9% in Pécs, 41.3% in Győr, 50.2% in Székesfehérvár and 59.8% in Dunaújváros.
Former housing factories
|Budapest No. 1 (Szentendrei str.)||No. 43 State Construction Company (SCC)||1965||Soviet||1800-2300-3300|
|Budapest No. 2 (Ferencváros)||No. 43 SCC||1968||Danish (Larsen-Nielsen)||1700-2500|
|Budapest No. 3 (Dunakeszi)||No. 43 SCC||1969||Soviet and Hungarian||3600-4200|
|Budapest No. 4 (Budafok)||No. 43 SCC||1974||Soviet and Hungarian||2800-3000|
|Győr||Győr County SCC||1970||Soviet, GDR and Hungarian||3000-3500|
|Miskolc||Borsod County SCC||1970||Soviet and Hungarian||3600-4200|
|Debrecen||Hajdú County SCC||1971||Soviet and Hungarian||2500-3500|
|Szeged||South-Hungarian Construction Company||1972||Soviet and Hungarian||2500-3000|
|Veszprém||Veszprém County SCC||1975||Soviet and Hungarian||2500|
|Kecskemét||Bács County SCC||1976||Soviet and Hungarian||2500|
Former panel works
|Dunaújváros||Concrete and Ferroconcrete Works||1962||Hungarian||1200|
|Pécs||Baranya County State Construction Company (SCC)||1963||Hungarian||1300|
|Szekszárd||Tolna County Concrete and Ferroconcrete Works||1972||Hungarian||600|
|Kaposvár||Somogy County SCC||1973||Hungarian||450|
|Békéscsaba||Békés County SCC||1970||Hungarian||400|
|Szolnok||Szolnok County SCC||1969||Hungarian||400|
According to the 2011 census, there were 829,177 panel flats in Hungary (777,263 inhabited, 51,914 tenantless, 18.9% of the dwellings overall), of whom there were 548,464 flats (66.1%) in large-panel system buildings (LPS) and 280,713 (33.9%) in precast concrete (PC) buildings (the LPS is originally unplastered, while the PC is plastered and painted). These flats were home to 1,741,577 people (17.5% of the total population). There were 58,698 [50,373 inhabited] (7.1 [6.5%] of the total) one-bedroom, 421,274 [392,602 inhabited] (50.8% [50.5%]) two-bedroom, 271,422 [259,276 inhabited] (32.7% [33.4%]) three-bedroom flat, while 77,783 [59,275 inhabited] panel flats (9.4% [9.7%]) had four or more bedroom in 2011.
Average floor space was 54 m² for an LPS flat and 69 m² for a PC flat in 2011, lower than the national average (78 m²). The average floor space for a state-built flat (mostly panel flats) was 48 m² in the 1960s, 53 m² in the 1970s and 55 m² in the 1980s, significantly smaller than a privately built one (panel blocks also were built by non-governmental organizations, mostly housing cooperatives). Despite economic harship, flats got even bigger in the late 1980s (before the fall of the Communism), the largest panel flats were built in the Káposztásmegyer microdistrict of Budapest with 124 m².
The society of panel housing estates was heterogeneous until the privatization in the early 1990s (after the fall of the Communism), when the poor and the rich fled from these buildings, made them middle class characteristic. The residents of panel buildings predominantly have an above-average level of education.
Largest panel microraions
|Microraion (housing estate)||City||Flats||Inhabitants (person)|
|Újpest-Városközpont ("Újpest City Center")||Budapest||16,832||36,000|
|Pécs-Kertváros ("Pécs Garden City")||Pécs||15,856||35,000|
|Óbuda-Városközpont ("Óbuda City Center")||Budapest||13,736||27,000|
|Békásmegyeri lakótelep ("Békásmegyer microraion")||Budapest||13,394||27,000|
|Füredi utcai lakótelep ("Füredi microraion")||Budapest||12,233||21,000|
|Kispesti lakótelep ("Kispest microraion")||Budapest||12,000||27,000|
|Avasi lakótelep ("Avas microraion")||Miskolc||11,498||40,000|
|Pécs-Uránváros ("Pécs Uranium City")||Pécs||9,651||22,000|
|Tatabánya-Újváros ("Tatabánya New City")||Tatabánya||8,862||20,000|
|Széchenyi város lakótelep ("Széchenyitown microraion")||Kecskemét||8,673||20,000|
- Panelák (Czechoslovakia)
- Systematization (Romania)
- Ugsarmal bair (Mongolian People's Republic)
- Khrushchyovka (Soviet Union)
In popular culture
- Béla Tarr's film Panelkapcsolat tells a doomed love story set in a housing project in Hungary. Special Mention at the 1982 Locarno Film Festival.
- Gábor Preisich: Budapest városépítésének története 1945-1990, Műszaki Könyvkiadó, Budapest, 1998, pp. 77-116, ISBN 963-16-1467-0
- Hungarian census 2011 tables 2.1.13, 2.1.22, 2.2.3, 2.2.6 (Hungarian)
- "Failure of a High-Rise System". Concrete Construction. 1 March 1969. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
- Tímea Dénes: Házgyári panelos épületek felújítása Budapest University of Technology and Economics, 2000
- Imre Perényi: A korszerű város ("The modern city"), Műszaki Könyvkiadó, Budapest, 1967, p. 183, pp. 157-165
- László Berza: Budapest lexikon, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1993, pp. 560-561, pp. 668-669, ISBN 963-05-6411-4
- Ernő Heim: Új városrész születik - a zuglói új lakónegyed részletes rendezési terve, Budapest, a Főváros folyóirata, Year IV, Vol. 3, 1966, pp. 26-28
- 1960. évi népszámlálás (1960 census), 8. Lakások és lakóépületek adatai, Hungarian Central Statistical Office, Budapest, 1963, pp. 26-32
- 1990. évi népszámlálás (1990 census), 26. A lakások adatai, Hungarian Central Statistical Office, Budapest, 1993, pp. 260
- "General information on various student flats and building types in Budapest". Budapest Corner. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
- Housing factories and panel works in Hungary (Hungarian), p. 3
- Zsuzsa Körner - Márta Nagy: Az európai és a magyar telepszerű lakásépítés története 1945-től napjainkig, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, 2006, pp. 323-324, ISBN 963-9535-45-1
- András Ferkai: Lakótelepek, Budapest Főváros Önkormányzata, Budapest, 2005, pp. 74, ISBN 963-9170-86-0
- Tamás Egedy: Kiskedvencből mostohagyerek? (Hungarian)
- Népszabadság Online: http://www.nol.hu/lap/hetvege/lap-20090117-20090117-17
- Largest housing estates in Hungary (Hungarian), p. 274