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ArgumentNo. 10/2018

Bucharest, European (Agri)cultural Capital

  • / “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest, Romania


One of the most important things in creating a programme for participating in the competition for the title of European Capital of Culture is defining a city identity. The proposition is a territorial manifesto for Bucharest, necessary for creating a consistent identity which will be the foundation for a submission for the title of European Cultural Capital. The argument is that of Bucharest which reconnects with the ecological matrix of the territory.

Bucharest is located in the middle of a region where agriculture has been playing an extremely important part. What could become the metropolitan area of Bucharest was initially conceived as an agricultural ring – Ilfov Agricultural County. This is of utmost importance considering the recent urban sprawl which is made without any planning on plots from the former agricultural heritage fund.

As Bucharest is a city located in what I like to call, the lower Danube valley, and is placed within the rivers crossing this valley from northwest to southeast. Overlooked pattern on top of which a radial concentric scheme was overlapped. Forcing the concentric radial theoretical model to the detriment of geometry, the ‘ground zero’, as Franco Purini names it, the natural setting on which civilization is situated can no longer cope with the current urban growth, both in its positive and negative dimensions. The negative dynamics of the population within the boundaries of Bucharest and the massive growth of pre-urban residents in Ilfov show the identity of Bucharest is in a profound mutation which need not only be accepted but also designed.

As the new economy (based on IT industries and various services) and agriculture can create that sustainable urban development model that would ensure a real economic and ecological balance, as proposed by Nicolae Georgescu Roegen. A vision aimed at a spatially and physiologically high spatial performance model could catalyze the already existing ecological matrices.

Thus, the city / metropolis / capital would benefit from the full force of the physical + social + economic + cultural territories and reveal a new, positive identity, absolutely necessary for the definition of a European cultural capital project.


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