Călărași is a city with a declining and aging population. Young people prefer to leave the city immediately after finishing high school. Călărași is not a university town, but there are many natives from Călărași as students at the University of Architecture and Urbanism, in Bucharest. The local community is attracted by what architecture students can do, there is an interest in their fresh vision and development plans.
New EU instruments such as The New European Bauhaus initiative calls ”to imagine and build together a sustainable and inclusive future” referring to ”places, practices, and experiences”. In this regard, Co-city is a new concept within this approach considering that the ”the city is a collaborative space in which urban inhabitants are central actors in managing and governing city life and urban resources—ranging from open spaces and buildings to neighborhood infrastructure and digital networks”.
Liveable Co-city emphasizes the aspects related to daily urban life, accessibility and sustainable micro-mobility, the attractiveness of urban green spaces, the resilience based on the use of local resources and heritage values, and the socially inclusive character of peripheral residential neighborhoods.
The Liveable Co-City methodology is based on the idea of sustainable co-shared projects. From the general methodological framework of Co-City developed and applied in many cities around the world by Sheila Foster and Christian Iaione and many other professionals, we proposed a necessary simplified method for achieving the activity goals within this activity:
- EXPLORING AND TALKING
- ANALYSIS AND MAPPING
- DEVELOPING SCENARIOS (PRACTICING)
- DEVELOPING DESIGN SOLUTIONS (PROTOTYPING)
- PRESENTING AND DISCUSSING (TESTING)
The proposed methodology also consists in defining 5 main clusters of study and intervention, correlated to the concept of Liveable Co-City:
1. accessibility and sustainable micro-mobility
2. socially inclusive character of peripheral residential neighbourhoods
3. resilience based on the use of local cultural resources and heritage values
4. attractiveness of public urban green spaces
5. productive landscapes and local economy
The international workshop held in Calarasi brought together 60 students from 7 Danube countries, being correlated with Intensive Programs from the Danube Small and Medium cities Erasmus+ project, coordinated by UAUIM.
The activity involved prior field visits and meetings with local actors from tourism, local agriculture, education, culture; the workshop finally included the presentation of the projects within the Calarasi City Hall, the presence of the mayor and other representatives of the municipality and the debate of some aspects of the proposed solutions.
The design of the workshop allows its annual replication, with the involvement of local actors, municipality and possibly, the extension of the study area to the rural territory of the city.