Saturday we celebrate the Earth

March 23, 2013 at 3:43 am | Posted in Events | Leave a comment
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Saturday evening from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., 2 billion people celebrate Earth Hour, the largest environmental event in history.

Over 40 cities in Romania symbolically extinguish lights and prepare performances by candlelight, observations of celestial bodies, exhibitions, concerts unplugged supported by local artists, symbolic marches and interactive workshops. Even the most impressive buildings in Romania, will remain in the dark for one hour.

Organization WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) will celebrate the big night in Timisoara, the city has earned the title of Capital of Earth Hour 2013, but representatives of the association mentioned will be present in every corner of the country, through his friends.

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Timisoara Workshop – City Young Minds Draw the PUG

December 9, 2008 at 11:23 pm | Posted in Academics, Events | Leave a comment
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During the 17th of November till the 21st of November, Romania Green Building Council was represented in the City Environment workshop, an international and cross-disciplinary workshop between young professionals, trying to understand the process of creating a Master Plan or a PUG (General Urban Plan) in an ecological approach.

Workshop Organizers:

The Faculty of Mechanics Students’ League, Timisoara

The Faculty of Mechanics Students’ League from Timisoara (LSFMT) is a non-governmental, apolitical organisation, mainly committed to representing the students’ rights and interests through specific means and representatives in different decision making forums.

The Urban Planning Workshop, Timisoara

It is a space organized by the Urban Planning Departments of Timisoara (Atelierul de Urbanism), in Piata Operei, design to become an interface between the Urban Planning Department and the city. Its purpose is to inform citizens about the projects that are going to be approved, to present projects, to host exhibitions or other events like the workshop.

Romanian Landscape Architects’ Association

Romania Landscape Architects’ Association (AsoP) is a non-governmental, non-profit, non-political and independent organization that supports the development of the landscaping activities in Romania and promotes the active implication of the citizens in the development of the green spaces and encourages them to join the efforts of the non-profit organization in improving the quality of life.

Volunteer members of ‘Peace Corps’, USA

The Peace Corps is a United States governmental agency that sends volunteers to over 70 countries all over the world to help meet the need for trained men and women, to educate citizens of other countries about America, and to educate Americans about other peoples and cultures. Daniel is an urban planner and Sarah and Doug are environmentalists.

About the workshop itself:

Monday, 17th of November

We all met in the afternoon at Atelierul de Urbanism and started discussions about what a Master Plan or a General Urban Plan is. Discussions were held by Mr. Sorin Ciurariu, Chief Architect of Timisoara, and Mr. Serban Bortnowski. There were 25 participants – students from different specializations (architecture, urban planning, landscaping and geography) and from different countries (Romania, Slovenia, Turkey, France, Serbia, Spain and Italy). We were highlighted the problems we face in this process of creating a Master Plan in Romania, and how things should be done. The subject of the workshop was also presented: the approach of a Master Plan, main ideas of the process, adapted for Timisoara and a key project (proposals for an ex-industrial area situated near the Iosefin residential protected area, between the Bega River and the train lines, in proximity with the train station). When discussions were over, in the evening, we made a short city visit and ended in the Architecture Faculty’s Pub.

Tuesday, 18th of November

In the morning we went for a site visit, to see where our key project is located and to understand the context. After that, we divided into groups and made a SWOT analysis of the site.

The organizers invited us, the participants, to the Politechnical University’s swimming pool to enjoy a relaxing evening.

Wednesday, 19th of November

In the morning we split in 3 groups: the urban planners’ group (mainly composed of the students from Bucharest), the architects’ group (with students from Cluj-Napoca and Timisoara) and the landscape architects’ group (in which all the foreign students were present). Each group was accompanied by someone from the organizers, to keep in touch with the Timisoara context. We presented the 3 proposals. They were similar in many points of view, but also had strong differences. The landscape architects thought at a large scale first, and came up with ideas at the metropolitan area: creating a surrounding green belt, connecting it to the European Green Belt, they highlighted the villages from the metropolitan area and proposed connections between them. They also had an approach of the key project, proposing to flood the most important part of the area. The urban planners concentrated a lot on transportation, completing the transportation rings. The architects were very specific, coming with proposals for the key project: creating a modular system of housing for different social classes, including the river in the city, through a sort of harbor, transportation along the river, and transforming the train station into a multi-layered transportation hub, with a mixed function. All the proposals were in a way influenced by the others, because we were encouraged to be involved in the other groups’ proposals.

In the afternoon we had to negotiate a common solution for the key project. Also, as an important part of the workshop, we started working on a set of statements, at the city’s scale, that would list the main directions we considered Timisoara should follow in the process of creating the General Urban Plan and the Master Plan. Negotiations went well and cross-disciplinary work gave birth to a better solution. Negotiation wasn’t about giving something away, but gaining more.

Thursday, 20th of November

This day was dedicated to real work, aiming for a set of statements and the key project. Negotiations continued and even new ideas appeared. It was a long day, and everybody proved to be really dedicated to the work. Some of us stayed very late at night (even after 6 in the morning) to make sure we did a good job. Hard work in big teams also comes with a lot of fun. We listened to music, made jokes, and enjoyed working together.

Friday, 21st of November

We came back at the Atelierul de Urbanism as fast as we could woke up from a very short sleep, and continued with the last details and prepared the slides for the presentation. At about 12 o’clock we went to the Politechnical University’s Senat Room. Among the invitees were the Mayor, the Technical University’s Rector, the Chief Architect, the president of Timis Architects’ Order, the press and others. After we presented the process of the workshop and the final results, debates started on the ideas we came up with, the workshop’s process, the statements, etc.

As a conclusion:

I’d say the workshop was a successful one. We, the participants, learned to think cross-disciplinary in such a big project as a General Urban Plan or a Master Plan and kept our minds focused on environmental issues.

Hopefully, the ideas will be taken into account for the actual General Urban Plan and Master Plan of Timisoara city, and why not, maybe this kind of actions will take place in other important city of Romania, since all of them are now working on the new General Urban Plan and Master Plan.

Photos of the event are available here.

The list of statements are available here.

Hoping for a ‘greener’ future in a ‘greener’ world,

Adrian Pop

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