The research is focusing on eight Romanian towns, leaving aside the capital city, nevertheless including a satellite town of it. The selected localities allow comparisons since they belong to several development regions and counties, being in different stages of transforming bankrupted socialist industries into assets of real estate development. Excepting Bragadiru (as a suburb of Bucharest) and Bârlad, all the other cities are county seats but differ in the number of persons with domicile in these localities, being: second-tier cities (following the capital city of above 2 million inhabitants) with a population of about 300.000, third-tier cities (with a population around 100.000), and a high-income commuter town formed after 1990 (with 25.000 inhabitants). Read our fieldnotes in Romanian here.

Cities selected for research and the number of their population with domicile, INS

NrRegionCountyCityPopulation, 1992Population, 2020
2S-VGorjTârgu Jiu9359494734

The fieldnotes on cities resulted from our exploratory empirical work, which was conducted in the first project year. In each city, we identified and started to document as many former industrial platforms as we could via the first field visits and information available online on platforms about the privatization of factories or about real estate developments, but as well as in the press or on websites of public authorities. We noticed that only a very few of the former factories were still running in their original domain at a low scale and intensity; some of them were rented out for new small firms; while the majority of them were already demolished or at least were planned to be torn down to create space, via urban regeneration plans agreed by the local public authorities, for real estate development (commercial, residential, office).

In the second project year, we will continue conducting interviews with representatives of local public administrations, developers, real estate agencies, architectural firms, construction companies, and financial institutions. We started to conduct interviews in the first project year, but we will make use of them in our later papers, they are not discussed in the city fieldnotes elaborated till the end of November 2021.

Besides, the research will continue to advance with studying different types of documents, such as laws related to urbanism and housing; local urbanistic plans; council decisions on the housing stocks; cadastre extracts for the lands transformed from sites of industries into sites of real estate development; web-sites of real estate actors; informative materials about the privatization of socialist industrial units; statistics; online public debates regarding urbanization-regeneration-planning; investigative journalism on old factories, and new real estate developments.