AuthorMionel, Viorel
  1. Introduction

    Different causes of urban crisis and civic involvement, based on impoverishment, poverty and stigma, find their roots within the ghetto spaces (Bauman, 2001; Dreier, 2003; Sugrue, 2005). The spatial segregation of Rroma (1) populations has generated many ghettos or the so-called areas 'of second hand' in the cities of Romania. The reality of living inside ghettos is marked by poverty, people on social assistance, lack of proper education and working skills, lack of basic utilities, increased birth rate, high density of the living space, spatial degradation, sanitation and epidemic risks, crimes and local conflicts, drugs use and begging (Mionel, 2012a). With the help of a 'circuit of disadvantages' (Omenya, 2003, p. 13), we argue that Romania is the scene of a fast process of auto-reproduction in the case of urban ghettos. Moreover, many people on social assistance live in these poor spaces, triggering the alarm of intervention for the urban administration.

    The scene of administrative policies resembles that of many cities of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), both as action model as well as result. Urban administrations try to get involved actively inside communities, especially of those spatially segregated, to improve the living standards and to diminish inequalities among areas under their responsibility. The Romanian case adds value not only through diversifying the context, but exploring and establishing a typology of the directions of intervention. The analysis of administrative policies in segregated urban spaces involves anchoring the topic in the field of Rroma segregation. While the number of Rroma communities is controversial within the officials' discourse, their segregation expanded in many Romanian cities, despite the authorities attempt to remodel the urban image by blocking the housing access of Rroma into the cities. It challenges the sustainable policies which fight against poverty and marginalization around Rroma communities.

    The paper develops around the characteristics and the process of segregation between Romanian cities and communities marginalized to live inside ghettos. The segregation of Rroma population has occurred naturally through spatial concentration, but some cases emerged when urban administrations developed and maintained segregation. Another goal of this paper relates to the target of administrative interventions and their motivations, to see the resemblance with areas of other CEE countries. Our third focus is to identify and classify the administrative policies which target the life of the ghetto. For these, the next section explores the segregation concept, emphasizing the spatial segregation of Rroma in CEE countries and Romania. The methodology section develops around an ethnographic approach, exploring the media storytelling experiences and reports, to analyze the policies applied by urban administrations. It leads to the evaluation of the most significant interventions of the local urban management, which try to grasp sustainable ways that contribute to the improvement of living conditions. Then, we discuss the administrative policies, emphasizing the evaluation of policies. The conclusion section wraps up the evaluation of policies about their success, promoting critical reflections on studied cases.

  2. Literature analysis

    Segregation affects at different stages and with different intensities almost all countries (Feitosa and Wissmann, 2006). White (1983) suggests two types of segregation: social and geographic, which are intertwined. In general, social segregation analysis relies on the representative dimensions that generate categories; ethnicity, race, confession, alongside education, income and sexual minorities, all these represent parts of the general process of social segregation because each involves and defines population. Racial segregation analysis has been the focus of many studies, with the main focus on the segregation of the black population (Massey and Denton, 1993; Collins and Williams, 1999; Maly, 2008). Ethnic segregation has also gained the attention of many researchers (Gultekin and Guzey, 2007) who have analyzed, described and mapped levels of separation of ethnic groups in their living environments. Yet, Kain (2003) argues that socio-economic segregation and different ways of measurement of the socio-economic status have received less attention in academic studies. In the case of income distribution developed through global economy, Musterd and Ostendorf (2013) identify a strong emphasis on social inequalities and the emergence of socio-economic segregation. Other studies (Santos, 1979) mention the structuring of urban society in social classes that appear and develop simultaneously because of the income distribution. Finally, confessional segregation has received lesser attention (Knox, 1973; Glasze, 2005). This notion involves those cases where religion has generated spatial rupture of the population, causing a real social phenomenon.

    Unlike social segregations, geographic segregation deals with urban morphology (Sinha and Sinha, 2007; Latham et al., 2008). Although social segregation implies many meanings, it is usually used for geographical separation of different social and spatial groups. Urban diversity and heterogeneity originate from the evolution through time of the social and geographic components of urban segregation, marking the urban landscape with different shapes. In other words, geographical segregation defines spatial forms of urban landscape and the quality of living in such spaces. In this context we focus on the geographical segregation of poor people, identified as ghetto.

    2.1. What is a ghetto?

    Wirth (1928) has suggested that the ghetto existed long before it was named like this. Its origin remains unclear, but it has been in use for over 500 years. Some time ago, the ghetto meant a Jewish neighborhood in a city. Starting with the Middle Ages, the presence of Jews in Italy was cited to be high in the neighborhoods of the outskirts and to a lesser extent in the main parts of the city. This infers that stigmatization and discrimination, main factors for the existence of the ghetto, have an old history.

    Through a detailed analysis of the etymology of the ghetto, Cuceu (2010) suggests the separation of the word at its root. Despite the evidence of its Italian origins--'campo ghetto', which represents the place where iron is melted, some researchers have suggested that 'get' comes from the Hebrew language, meaning separation (Cuceu, 2010). Therefore, campo ghetto evolved to Nuovo Ghetto to reveal the Jewish space in an institutional way and, finally, it has become the well-known ghetto. Other studies have advocated for the word 'borghetto' (Wirth, 1928), because this form has close resemblance to a small village or even small neighborhood; as such, it suggests the creation of small urban settlements by the Jewish population, where they were forced to live.

    The social life of the ghetto gravitates around two coordinates of composition, which are simultaneous: the enhancement of integration and cohesion from within, and acceleration of isolation from the outside space (Wacquant, 2011). After a detailed description and analysis of the Jewish community from the ghetto of Venice, he emphasizes four grounding elements: stigmatization, constraint, spatial confinement and institutional parallelism. With the exception of these elements, the ghetto reveals to the outside world--almost everywhere--a distinct space with unique characteristics: poverty, which seems a derivative element (Wacquant, 2011); segregation--not all segregated spaces are ghettos, but all the ghettos are segregated; a ghetto is different of an ethnic enclave; a ghetto is isolated from the outside and congregated within; social sustainability and ghetto represents two diverging issues. Even if the spatial process approached by this paper was not named ghetto in the countries where it has developed, this does not mean its denial. Famous cases from Venice (Wirth, 1928; Wacquant, 2011; Kessler and Nirenberg, 2012), Rome (Mionel, 2012a; Mionel, 2013), from the history of Japan (De Vos, 1971; Shirasawa, 1985; Lie, 2004) or US (Wirth, 1928; Ward, 1989; Wacquant, 2011) offer plenty of arguments for ghetto analysis.

    Romanian ghettos manifest a certain pattern that is conceptualized and customized in accordance with the spatial and social dimensions found in the analyzed cases. Poverty, segregation and exclusion are among the factors that favors the emergence and the continuation of stigma in many Romanian urban ghettos. Here, the poverty is not necessary a derived phenomenon, but one that has mainly implicit values and that seems perpetual. The causes of poverty from ghettos alter profoundly any relation to the outside: from equal access to the working market, education, to the simple social contract.

    In Romania, the ghettos are urban spaces that concentrate dynamic Rroma communities, unfolding through three facets: they evolved steadily over a long period of time, they developed through misused administrative policies, or they are formed through a combination of the previous two. Transposed in the segregation framework of ethnic communities, the facets of ghettos involve two types of segregation (voluntary and involuntary), as well as a mix of the two. Without the use of force over the decision of localization, the ethnic concentration means a voluntary ghetto (Wirth, 1928; Bauman, 2001) and relates to the individuals' preferences. The Romanian urban ghetto plays a specific role of social and economic coercion on one side, while on the other side it acts its institutional role (Mionel, 2013).

    Communities from these areas lost their economic utility for the host cities (Wacquant, 1993). In the case of some families, children's education does not involve leaving poverty with the help of education. Transmitted from generation to generation, the...

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