Diana Andreea ONOSE, University of Bucharest, Romania
Mihai Razvan NITA, University of Bucharest, Romania
Ana Maria POPA, University of Bucharest, Romania
Athanasios Alexandru GAVRILIDIS , University of Bucharest, Romania
Socialism promoted a very specific urban pattern based on top-down planning, large planning projects and forced industrialization. After the political and economical system changed, cities faced a wide range of problems including the depopulation of towns where the industrial activities stopped, urban sprawl at the periphery of large, vibrating cities, specific land change models oriented to the shift from agricultural areas to residential and commercial ones, deindustrialization, shrinkage, ageing, gentrification and so on.
Our paper aims to establish a framework for classifying cities according to the transformation pattern they suffered and propose strategies meant to overcome the challenges they face and make them greener, healthier and sustainable. We used the Romanian urban system as a case study, analyzing 320 cities – the capital, 11 large cities, around 80 medium-sized cities and almost 230 small cities. We selected indicators charactering the main documented transformations affecting post-socialist cities and extracted their values for all cities in Romania using data sources like the National Institute of Statistics, research projects at national level, spatial databases. We ensured that all data are official and validated. We used cluster analysis to group cities according to the indicator’s values and obtained four categories – developing cities, shrinking cities, transforming cities and cities without a clear pattern of transformation (grouping characteristics of the above-mentioned categories). For each group we proposed actions meant to improve their resilience and sustainability with the aim of creating greener and healthier cities.
Our analysis may prove useful in understanding the challenges post-socialist cities face and can contribute in the planning process by providing a basis for implementing social, economic, environmental and administrative measures in order to ensure the transition to urban sustainability
Keywords: urban sustainability|post-socialist cities|urban transformations