ArgumentNo. 6/2014

Local sustainability and re-territorialisation – the spa town project revisited

Abstract

The goal of the PhD thesis in progress is to underlie a study methodology adapted to the context of the Romanian spa towns’ heritage, in order to realise afterwards a series of strategies for the reactivation of the sea resorts or the thermal regions.

In this paper and in connection with the research being realised, we propose a ‘territorialist’ approach as support for the scientific purposes, presenting briefly its implications. Thus, we choose as starting point the research done by the italian territorialist school (Alberto Magnaghi, Vittorio Gregotti, Paola Vigano), which criticises the contemporary concepts of global sustainability an strict ecology. In return, we should promote a local self-sustainability, a superior quality endeavour regarding the complex reinforcement and development of territorial connections starting from local resources. To this end, we will support the idea that a spa town should functon within a regional ecosystem, without being isolated inside, but being generated by its territory or even regenerated by a bio-region. Also, we will analyse the role of local actors within the urban and territorial planning and the way in which punctual interventions adapted to the local context can add to salvaging and turning to good account the existing patrimony.

The concept of sustainability raises difficulties and specific problems, which make a re-territorialisation approach necessary. This approach starts from a local culture capable of cultivating the identity of the water towns. We shall anayse the spatial and denominative markers of the balneological project.

The concepts of urban and territorial identity or the concept of regional ecosystem presented in this paper can be the theoretical basis of a diagnostic methodology and future reactivation strategies dedicated to the spa towns. In the spirit of sustainable development that valorises the spa heritage of these special towns, we believe that the perspective of territorial cohesion and identity consolidation represents an adequate mission for future development strategies.

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