AuthorSageata, Radu
  1. Introduction. Targets

    Urban expansion calls for an ever more complex management of city areas. Large cities used to expand by encompassing the periurban countryside: the polarized areas would gradually become integrated, the urban area steadily expanding (Nicolae, 2002). Efficient administration means efficient management, the city being divided in all types of competence restrictions (Navarro-Yanez and Rodriguez-Garcia, 2015).

    As a component of administrative-territorial organization, the sectorial delimitation of the city implies individualizing autonomous urban territorial subunits, having their own budget and property, assigned exclusive competences, as well as competences shared with and delegated by the hierarchically higher administrative authority (Bertrand, 1974). A laborious process, indeed, because it implies individualizing homogeneous areas in agreement with the specificity of each urban fabric, so that intra-sectorial disparities be smaller than inter-sectorial ones. Therefore, the urban morphostructure is but a landmark of urban space management (Bastie and Dezert, 1980); it is a necessary, yet not a sufficient one, because management should be aimed at making the urban space functional, based on in-depth and detailed knowledge of the territory and of the continuous changes taking place therein (Hall, 1998).

    That is why, the present study, focusing on Romania's capital-city, aims at offering concrete solutions on two aspects: (1) delimitation of the city sectors, and (2) correction of the city boundaries in accordance with the current particularities of the urban space (Kennedy, 2016).

  2. Why this study?

    The present sectorial pattern of Bucharest city is nearly forty years old (1) having been devised within the economic and social context of the 1970s, the time of oversized industrialization and construction of big residential quarters located at the city periphery (Erdeli et al., 2000). These residential areas, consisting of collective blocks-of-flats, lay alongside some Bucharest entrance axes (Militari and Drumul Taberei Ghencea in the west; Pantelimon and Titan in the east; Berceni--Progresul in the south; Colentina in the north-east, etc.), corresponding to the big industrial estates that formed the industry-dominated complex peripheral zone (Ianos and Heller, 2006). However, following post-communist deindustrialization, this area became the most vulnerable urban category, subsequently turned into residential mini-quarters, or commercial and services areas. New spatial relations emerged, the old quarters (insufficiently well delimited) were partly dismantled. New discontinuity areas, corresponding to the disused industrial structures would crop up.

    On the other hand, new demographic convergence cores, overlapping the residential and services areas, largely built after 2000, emerged. The question is how viable the current administrative boundaries (which should coincide with divergent areas of demographic flows) can prevent dividing some unitary residential zones. A first correction to inter-sectorial boundaries was already made in July 2011; it involved several urban areas (in the central zone was Unirii Square and the square facing the National Theatre; Ghencea Continuance, Giulesti Stadium area, Crangasi Road and Grant Bridge crossing).

    In addition, one should recall the dysfunctions caused by the huge pressure put on the local administrative institutions, bearing in mind that the six administrative sectors, Bucharest is divided in, are actually 'cities in city' (Table 1), the demographic size of some of them exceeding even that of the second-ranking town in the national urban hierarchy (2).

  3. Methodology

    Romania's capital-city has 32 residential quarters (Ghinea, 1996) which, though not sufficiently clearly-delimited in space are well-individualized mentally nevertheless. Some of these quarters, very much developed between 1970 and 1980, go beyond sectorial boundaries.

    After 1990, other peripheral residential structures were added, some of them extending over time, came to be of sector-size. They are situated on the grounds of certain Bucharest-limitrophe administrative-territorial units, being closely related to the city through their human flows. Hence, the urban-periurban administrative boundaries are simply a formality.

    The number of quarters is far too great to become lower-rank local territorial communities. However, they may associate (say, 3 or 4 quarters), and make up homogeneous sectors, including residential quarters of blocks-of-flats, villas, one-storey dwelling-houses, quarters with special social problems (Ferentari, Rahova, Giulesti, etc.), largely dominated by industrial or services units. Therefore, discontinuity areas in the built-up environment should be analyzed and individualized, because it is these very areas that determine the demographic and functional divergence cores and axes (Warf, 2015).

    According to Harris and Ullman (1945), the urban quarters acquired an individual character along some communication thoroughfares, or in-between them, thus looking like multiple cores, diverging from the sectorial administrative-territorial organization (Hoyt, 1933), which follow the radial-concentric pattern of urban-morphostructure (Bailly, 1973; Ianos, 1987).

    The heterogeneous size and character of the sectors, due to their configuration (including both central and peripheral quarters) and the diversity of problems confronting them, impose a general fragmented development framework. Demographic growth has made the present Bucharest sectors (averaging 350,000 inhabitants) rank among the biggest urban administrative structures (Table 2).

    Moreover, the current sectorial boundaries divide the central area, which is homogeneous, while the decline of some industrial peripheral zones accounts for the disappearance of some polarizing cores in the new residential areas. Besides, the shortage of services units at the periphery makes large flows of population travel to the city-center, hence having a negative impact on the urban transport system at rush hours in particular (Rey, 1998).

    The complex study of mutations in the housing stock will be associated with the discontinuities occurring in the city, as a basis for tracing sectorial boundaries. In this way, a transition is made from the sector-type organization, that dates from 1929 (3), to the multi-core type, corresponding to the homogeneous urban areas. This pattern of the city-area administrative organization has successfully been implemented also in other European capitals (Paris, London, Brussels, Warsaw, Prague, Athens, Berlin, Madrid, etc.) (Figure 1), and it contributed to an increased efficiency of the local administration and reduced the demographic pressure on the administrative authorities (Table 2).

    Thus, the study methodology covers the following stages:

  4. Discontinuity areas will be individualized in the built-up territory of the city based on demographic and economic-social data, as well as on satellite images and updated maps of in-city land-use areas.

  5. A map of functional urban areas in terms of discontinuity will be elaborated, the respective areas being the groundwork for delimiting the proposed urban sectors.

  6. The boundaries of the proposed urban sectors will be traced along the discontinuity areas which generate divergent population flows.

    In this way, just as it is customary in other European capital-cities, quarter centers, which act as convergence areas of demographic flows, will also constitute the cores of the future urban quarters, the result being a multi-core-based organization pattern.

  7. Results and discussions

    4.1. Individualized city discontinuities

    4.1.1. Demographic and functional discontinuities

    The distribution of population density within the city depends on the layout and particularities of the residential areas, on the one hand, and on the distribution of dwelling-houses, on the other (Ianos and Guran, 1995). One may distinguish four types of residential areas: the central city-area with mixed functions: residential and services, the old residential area, the great residential area, and the new residential areas.

    The central city-area, which overlaps the old commercial center, extends towards the Parliament Palace and Victoria Square. This area concentrates specific activities of national interest that make Bucharest a capital-city.

    Types of services, especially overspecialized banking, as well as cultural and political-administrative activities are elements that attract daily important flows of townspeople and of arrivals from other parts of the country. Activities which make a capital-city functional overlap those of local interest, which did, and still do, 'suffocate' the area with great densities of population and convergent migrations (Ianos, 1996). The huge urban 'remodeling' made in the area of the Parliament Palace and Dambovita River during the 1980s, destroyed 20% of the city's architectural heritage, eventually proving to be a massive North-Korean-style (4) artificial make-up of buildings, in sharp contrast with what was specific to the area.

    Perpetual post-revolutionary austerity has led to the degradation of unfinished constructions and the failure of functionally managing the vast empty grounds left by massive demolitions. In this way, the largest zone of demographic discontinuity in the center of Bucharest, stretching up from Dambovita River and the empty grounds afferent to it, became a dismantled residential zone. The administrative and financial-banking structures, raised here, did not succeed in becoming polarizing cores capable to determine converging demographic flows (Mitrica et al., 2017).

    The old residential area is the second relatively concentric zone placed both in the central part of the city and at its periphery, dominated by a few storey-high buildings alternating with individual houses. The structures, dated before 1940, are in an advanced...

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