Horia Mihai Coman – Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Observatorului Street 72-76,400500, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

DOI: https://doi.org/10.31410/ERAZ.2019.325

5th International Conference – ERAZ 2019 – KNOWLEDGE BASED SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, Budapest – Hungary, May 23, 2019, CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS

Published by: Association of Economists and Managers of the Balkans – Belgrade, Serbia
Conference partners: Faculty of Economics and Business, Mediterranean University, Montenegro; University of National and World Economy – Sofia, Bulgaria; Faculty of Commercial and Business Studies – Celje, Slovenia; Faculty of Applied Management, Economics and Finance – Belgrade, Serbia;

ISBN 978-86-80194-20-2, ISSN 2683-5568, DOI: https://doi.org/10.31410/ERAZ.2019


Romania, as other neighbouring countries, has been under a socialist-communist regime
since the end of the Second World War, until 1989. From King Michael I’s forced abdication of 1947,
until the Romanian revolution of 1989, the socialist-communist authorities have been laying their marks
on the country, including some extensive urban developments in the centres of many Romanian cities.
These developments were often carried out through a considerable amount of demolition works, thus
replacing older buildings – and pre-communist built areas – with new ones. Consequently, many Romanian
cities ended up losing elements of architectural heritage, memory and identity. Old mansions,
churches or merchant houses usually had to leave the scene in order for a new architecture to emerge
– one that would be mostly rooted in functionalism, brutalism and socialist modernism.
Today, at roughly 30 years since the fall of communism, some communist-era urban developments are
beginning to “age”, as some of the buildings erected in that era began to require repair works and
different means of upgrade, such as thermal insulation. This triggers some actions of architectural remodeling
of communist-era buildings, and even some urban remodeling of communist-era civic centres
and urban ensembles. Looking at how these actions are being done, one of the most immediate remarks
has to do with the fact that the original designs of the buildings and urban spaces are often modified,
altering their “personality”. In other cases, communist-era urban developments that occupy portions
of the city centres are beginning to decay, laying in a somewhat semi-abandoned state, probably not
popular with city dwellers…while older parts of the central areas are bustling with city life. This phenomenon
raises the problem of “sustainable development” regarding this family of urban areas, as
they are often linked with bad memories of the communist past, triggering a mix of neglect and desire
to modify (in looks, in form).
Following this setting, the paper tries to analyse the reasons behind this phenomenon, also searching
for ways in which these (often unpopular) communist-era developments can be approached in order to
properly use the central areas that they occupy, in a sustainable manner.
One of the key findings of the research has to do with issues of identity, as perceived by the public.
Lack of attachment to communist-era urban developments from central areas is strongly linked to the
destructions that made the new developments possible, in the beginning. In order to gain a higher degree
of appreciation and interest from the public, these developments usually strive for “upgrade”, as a
“rebirth” of personality. For example, many of the department stores have had their facades remodeled
in recent years, and this visual “refresh” often brings more people to the stores. On the other hand,
large mineral open spaces usually get “flooded” with vegetation in recent edilitary works – in order to
(probably) make the former squares (initially designed for political rallies) a little more “humane”. It
seems like the identity of communist-era spaces and buildings is not too valuable for the communities
they should serve and represent…

Key words

rehabilitation, revamp, conservation.


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și experiment [Architecture and urbanism in Romania from 1944 to 1960: constraint and
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[2] Armaș, Iuliana, “Earthquake Risk Perception in Bucharest, Romania”, Risk Analysis, vol.
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[3] Tulbure, Irina (2016) idem, pp. 232-233.

[4] Tulbure, Irina, “Teatrul Național din Craiova (1969-1974)” [Craiova National Theatre
(1969-1974)], Zeppelin, https://e-zeppelin.ro/istoria-acum/teatrul-national-din-craiova-
[5] Figure 1: https://www.facebook.com/ImaginiBucuresti/photos
[6] Figure 2: personal archive.
[7] Figure 3: https://adevarul.ro/economie/imobiliare/magazinul-cocor-de-a-lungul-timpului-
[8] Figure 4: personal archive.
[9] Figure 5: http://sanuuitam.blogspot.com/2017/08/din-banie-3.html.
[10] Figure 6: personal archive.
[11] Figure 7: https://craiovadeieri.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/din-trecutul-unui-loc-cu-istorievalea-
[12] Figure 8: personal archive.
[13] Figure 9, 10: personal archive.
[14] Figure 11, 12, 13: personal archive.