The International Conference on Public Space in Transition, Cluj, Rumania

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Reported by the City of Cluj-Napoca
December 4, 2019

The City of Cluj-Napoca in Rumania hosted the International Conference on Public Space in Transition developed around a succession of debates. The first debate was a discussion between national and international experts. The debate theme “Recent developments and directions for the future” had as special guests Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, President of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, Ralf Alwani, Urban Director Scale Specifies, Șerban Țigănaș, Architect and Secretary General of the International Union of Architects, Daniela Maier, Architect and President of the Order of Architects of Romania The Transylvania Branch. The Architect Vlad Sebastian Rusu presented the project for the revitalization of railroad park. The debate was moderated by Ovidiu Cîmpean, the project coordinator. 

Lance Jay Brown, architect, urban designer, teacher and author presented the transformations of public space throughout the history of humanity, focusing on challenges and important themes of the present and future: alarming population growth in the world, natural and man-made disasters, climate change, the Digital Revolution, and multiculturalism. 

The Architect Șerban Tigănaș showcased his studies on the evolution of public space over three decades: 1989-2019. In his presentation, entitled “Public Space Cluj, from Infrastructure through Design, to another Kind of Infrastructure”, the architect analyzed how the city of Cluj have been developed over the last 30 years from several perspectives: Management, use, allocation, transformation, generation, design and behavior.

Daniela Maier chose to present the projects coordinated through the urban scene project, an initiative of the Transylvania rag to involve the community in rediscovering and rediscovering the public space. Some of the places the urban scene team tried to bring back to the community over time are: Cetăţuia (2012, 2015), Botanical Garden (2013), emergency county clinical hospital – surgery I (2013). ), Central Station and station square (2014, 2015), STR. Ion I.C. Bratianu (2015), Str. (2014), Central Cemetery (2015), Central River (2016), Central River (2016), Railroad Park (2016), Spring Park (2016), Gheorgheni Sports Base (2017).
Ralf Alwani explained how projects can be best put into practice if the design is centered on people. He shared as an example the Foyle river crossing the city of Londonderry in northern Ireland, which had negative connotations in society because the bridge was used by those who tried to end their lives. With small interventions such as lighting the bridge in different colors, by creating an application on the occasion of a happy event such as a wedding or an anniversary, the public’s perception of the place has changed for the better. 

Architect Vlad Sebastian Rusu presented the project on the revitalization of railroad park. The project involves, in addition to the rehabilitation of the park, the rehabilitation of the railroad park street, the landscaping of the someș and the construction of two pedestrian pathways.

The Centre of innovation and civic imagination (Ciic) was launched two years ago, being a laboratory of ideas, constantly developing and testing different forms of collaboration between actors in the city, in order to encourage the participation of Cluj in the city life and promote discussions on urban development projects.

The Ciic debate on 4 December was part of the project, increasing transparency of decision-making and simplification of administrative procedures for citizens. The project has two components:
– the design, development and implementation of an electronic system for digitization and simplification of public services offered to citizens of Cluj-Napoca through the implementation of the electronic and virtual public official Antonia.
– the use of Ciic in the strategic planning of social innovation processes, to increase decision transparency and simplify procedures offered to citizens of Cluj-Napoca.