Romania

Bucharest_Demolitions_Map

This map uses litigation documents and property condemnation notices to locate evictions and demolitions that occurred between 2010 - 1014 across Bucharest. Since Romania’s European Union (EU) accession in 2007, large-scale infrastructure projects have reshaped localities ranging from the national capital of Bucharest to villages with declining populations. By 2014, hundreds of homes had been razed to make way for roads, scores of old-growth trees had been uprooted to meet EU-recommended park rehabilitation quotas, kilometers of roads crossing cornfields had been fitted with sidewalks, and the historic center of Bucharest had been split in two by a multi-lane expressway. Bucharest’s City Council hailed the economic and social benefits of a recently permitted, EU-funded gondola project, despite the fact that commuters and tourists rarely traveled the points connected. 

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The demolition of the Buzesti-Berzei district and the house of the Iliescu family, January 2011. Source: Teodor Iliescu. 

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An appeal for help posted by a resident on the door of his home at 91 Berzei Street, after Municipal worker crews blocked the entrance with steel bars in December 2010. Soon after, the crews began demolition works in the Buzesti-Berzei district.

Source: Florin Balteanu.
Romania_Demolitions_Evictions_Ioan_Tamba

A poem tacked at a tram stop shelter in 2011, by a residest of the Buzesti-Berzei district, lamenting the demolition of his home by the Municipality of Bucharest.

Source: Idei si Subtrefugii.
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Evictions and demolitions in the Uranus district of Bucharest in the mid 1980s. Evicted residents walk up Pelerinilor Street.

Source: Dinu Lazar Photography.
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The demolition of Postavari Church in central Bucharest. Source: Bujor Nedelcovici; National History Museum of Romania [Muzeul Naţional de Istorie al României] (http://www.comunismulinromania.ro/) 

 

Demolitions in Communist Romania - 1977-1989

Dozens of city centers across Romania were razed in the 1980s to make way for monumental, ornate architecture that represented a new socialist age. These grand planning schemes are commonly viewed as follies that were at odds with the principles of rational planning. New austerity policies in 1978 reduced subsidies for urban services and redirected them toward urban renewal schemes, pressuring municipalities to rely on self-financing and vie for limited, centrally disbursed resources. Extravagant architecture and urban design proposals proved to be powerful political tools during this period of austerity, as institutions competed with each other for disciplinary relevance, resources, and political favors in a process that dramatically reshaped the built environment. Municipalities and planning and historic preservation institutions competed with one another for access to resources while seeking to maintain their places within the political hierarchy. This competition for resources and institutional survival, which translated into disputes over the most “politically appropriate” urban design solutions, resulted in the demolition of vast areas of 19th century and interwar city fabric.  

Romania