Productive wasteland in Cluj Napoca
Cluj-Napoca, in Transylvania, is experiencing the social and economic impact of post-socialist, market driven policies. Several buildings – private houses and, above all, malls – have occupied the outer city landscape, while the former regime architecture still dominates the central quarters. At the social, political and economic levels, a growing individualism has replaced centralism and the practice of collectivism. Therefore, Landscape Choreography’s vision of re-appropriation of public unused spaces through an approach based on the concept and politics of the commons (see: http://www.landscapechoreography.eu/grabbing-urban-public-spaces-as-commons/) needs to take into consideration the cultural environment into which the project operates, necessarily.
Of course, commons is not communism. Still, it is very far away from any idea of individualism and social egoism. How to maintain a dialogue between these two opposite ways of conceiving of the city, its spaces, its inner social and cultural relations?
Obviously, the mapping of Cluj-Napoca’s political and cultural activism reveals that the situation on the ground is far away from any rigid classification. This uncertain and complex space provides room for the project to intervene and, hopefully for starting a process of discussion and negotiation of meanings.
Indeed, the search for so called productive wastelands in Cluj-Napoca brought us to encounter several realities, like the Roma community engaged in contesting the politics of ghettoization imposed by the city government (Roma families have been settled in a dump area, Pata Rât, at the border of the town; http://www.landscapechoreography.eu/pata-rat-demonstration/) and the communities of Zorilor and Mănăştur. The latter, in particular, is a suburb populated mainly by middle-class Romanian families and bordered by a huge forest inhabited by spots of Roma nomadic households.
The project aims at creating a different memory of the mapped spaces, or at least of the space that the local group of project members and stakeholders decides to privilege during the project next phases. The existence of an already stratified community is central to this choice, while the performance that the project will put in place should be understood as a device for communicating that spaces do not need to be occupied solely by concrete and solid infrastructure. Indeed, the uses that communities make of the urban spaces are creative and tactical, and need to be assessed by taking into mind that common spaces are spaces not belonging to anybody while used by everybody.
The challenge is launched. Dig Up is over. What will the next phases bring about?
Areas of inspection: