Urbanity and Civil Society.

The Rise of a New Urban Generation in Bucharest during the 2000s

by

Celia Ghyka

Keywords

  • civil society
  • urban resistance
  • urban renewal
  • social media
  • gentrification

The strong links (or even synonymy) between the concepts of “civil society” and “urbanity” have accompanied the history of the European city ever since Early Modernity; yet during the last decades of the 20th century the shift of focus from civil society to questions of governance have come to the forefront of public attention.

My paper explores the relations between the Romanian post-socialist civil society and the gradual acknowledgement of an urban conscience, in relation to the controversial recent projects developed by the municipality of Bucharest. Timidly starting in the early 2000, this conscience has acquired more and more self-awareness since 2010. I look at the context defined by radical urban changes combined with the growth of an educated, western-oriented, middle-class in search of identity. The rise of this new urban generation_ _has triggered a new attitude towards the destiny of the city, as well as an unprecedented series of street movements dedicated to urban issues (2011 -2013). The paper examines the extent, intensity and character of these processes, trying to map the associations between the social and political origins of these movements and the urban issues at stake.