Academic journal article Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management

Urban Regeneration Process in Romania

Academic journal article Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management

Urban Regeneration Process in Romania

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Development of urban planning has come to a crucial moment at global level, faced with having to solve a big dilemma: giving priority to inhabitants' demand regarding sustainable development. Where the financial resources should be directed to? Should the focus be placed on building modern houses with proper environmental-friendly (green) urban facilities or on solving the problems each city is faced with in terms of the end-of-life constructions or dwellings that no longer meet the demands of the inhabitants?

The states with economic power try to solve this dilemma by putting in place specific community or national-level programs, giving priority to rehabilitation of collective dwellings and to adopting certain solutions whereby to make them more environmentally-friendly by means of urban sustainable development works.

In the post-war Romania, the urban housing followed the line of the economic development specific to all countries affected in and considered the defeated parties of the 2nd World War. Dwellings building were one of the components of the Romanian economy that engaged a high volume of labor and tremendous financial efforts. "The hunger" for dwellings required the post-war governments to adopt long-term programs of erection of collective, compact, cheap and reduced-surface dwellings, similar to the model applied in the former USSR (9sqm/room). Seen as a state problem, construction of collective dwellings started back in the 50s on plots of land located in the proximity of industrial centers, under a strong pressure of the high demand of living spaces. In the last 5th decade, we noticed the first regulatory and control measures applied to the design and construction of collective dwellings (Luca, 2003) that laid-down the limits between which certain technical parameters specific to any dwelling may vary.

In the 45 years of building collective dwellings, the heritage of newly-built collective dwellings in Romania has reached 3,181,700 apartments in late 1999, different in terms of the constructive solutions applied and level of comfort, subject to various degrees of wear and tear and obsolescence.

The same state of functional "health" was to be seen in the other buildings erected in the period under review: public buildings, schools, museums, city-halls, elderly homes, a.s.o., as well as in the road infrastructure and related facilities. They were subject only to minor interventions aimed at preserving their functionality; the austerity policy of the 50 years was the main cause of this status-quo.

Since during 1950-1989 the state property was almost exclusively prevailing in Romania, the dwellings have not "enjoyed" repairing and rehabilitation services, well-known being the fact that the state is the worst manager. The state institutions responsible for repairing and management of common properties in each town (ICRAL, IGCL) limited their activity to bureaucratic record-keeping of the living spaces, preserving operation of the utilities networks (water, sewage), road infrastructure, interior repairing of the buildings part of the cultural heritage and of the public institutions' buildings. The post-communist period failed to improve the repairing and rehabilitation systems too. In the fever of transferring the former state properties to population, the authorities were forced to start-off rehabilitation programs aimed at enhancing the safety of the constructions affected by earthquakes that did not spare Romania along time, in parallel with reducing energy consumption. Such programs were both resources and time intensive.

2. Analysis

A certain category of studies that have been developed in Romania on the subject of urban regeneration contained conclusions supporting rehabilitation of the residential areas deemed as real estate properties with high revitalization potential from both socio-economical and environmental perspectives, based on the European experience, in view of turning them into a viable housing form. …

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