The City as Collaborative Field.

Tackling Informal Spatial Practices in Bucharest

by

Tudor Elian

Keywords

  • Bucharest
  • informal spatial practices
  • self-regulated urbanism
  • bricolage
  • planned local collaboration

The urban design practices of the past few decades have relied almost entirely on generic desires, projects and tools. With the globalization of urban visions and behaviours, it seems that authentically local specificities persist and thrive sometimes more in those cities which still rely in one way or another on unplanned processes. Such is the case of most Bucharest city.

Both the concept of urbanity and the behaviour it infers towards the other, the collective and the city itself seem to compete with the type of local spontaneous urban practices specific to informal urbanism. Born from the need to cope with the (post)communist condition, these improvised, diverse and very lively practices seem to denote a divergent culture.

But are these spontaneous behaviours the only ways of coping with both the past and the present in the here and now? Or are they also the emerging signs of a new vernacular, of a new tradition that is, of a culture that shifts over time to result eventually in more coherent behaviours? Is the bricoleur – the main actor of this spontaneous city – introducing a local blend of urbanity and should this alternative path be repressed, ignored or included in the way we think of our cities today and in the future?