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The Land of Beiuş (Romania) between Resilience and Regeneration. Post-Communist Challenges in Spatial Planning


Journal: Romanian Review of Regional Studies
ISSN 1841-1576

Volume: VIII;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 51;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: “Ţara” (Land) | Local identity | Resilient areas | Regeneration

The territorial development of post-communist Romania claims the integration into the territorial planning process of some principles that regard a balanced and rightful evolution of the total components of this area. Territorially, the communist heritage is seen as a particular pattern of land use, in which gigantic economic structures, oriented towards heavy industry, dependent on one another and the collective habitat dominated the urban environment while intensively mechanized agriculture, opposing the traditional customs, was imposed in the rural areas. Mentally, this heritage is responsible for the development of resilience to some concepts such as free association, heritage nationalization and resource rationalization that raise suspicions due to their forced and wrong implementation into the recent past. If we add the limited experience of the administration, the incomplete legislative framework and the lack of specialists, one has an overall view of the issues of the East-European territories. All these issues raise a series of challenges whose answers seem to be linked to the integration of the sustainable development principle into the process that coordinates the territorial development. The “land” type areas are specific geographic regions of Romania with deep roots in the historical past of Romania and with features of regional mental areas. The identity marks of these areas are given by the high degree of ruralism, conservatism and the tradition, customs and traditional activities preservation. Once more, from post-communist transition to the rigours of joining the European Union, the course of these areas towards sustainable development must pass through the planning process. The Land of Beiuş is one of the 18 “land” type areas of Romania, located in Western Romania (at the foot of the Apuseni Mountains), identifying itself with the mental area polarized by the town of Beiuş. The total population is approximately 80,000 inhabitants. The aspects related to the resilience of this area are given by the rural component, extensive traditional agriculture and crafts, preservation of ethnic-folkloric traditions and the existence of some traditional areas, etc. Opposed to this, there are areas that underwent complex transformations due to the decline of the communist economic structures, which adapted themselves to the market economy and thus became global. In this regard, the Land of Beiuş integrates in the same territorial system both dynamic areas, with mutations of the traditional features, and resilient conservative areas.Thus, although the Land of Beiuş has no administrative significance, due to its mental area features it represents a living organism in the collective mentality of its inhabitants. The evident resilience of this type of area is completely unexploited, at least until now. The present study is suggesting the integration of these resilient features of this area into a strategy of sustainable local development where the regional peculiarities and the local identity should become landmarks.
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