Bucharest, Romania

The former artificial Lake Văcăreṣti   represents a void in the urban structure, a neglected space, an ecosystem amidst the suburban neighborhoods of the capital. Nonetheless its peripheral position, the site still has a privileged relation with the downtown through the transportation routes that easily link with the main city infrastructure. So, what was a decade ago a simple commuter community of collective housing blocks (plattenbau), constructed mainly during the communist regime, now is in the eve of transformation. The real estate market threatens the fragile equilibrium that still prevails in the zone.

This is merely an ephemeral equilibrium, because what prevented the site from real estate’s developing , is not a previously taken resolution, but only the judicial entanglement of the land ownership. After the breakdown of the communist regime, the land was undertaken by the Ministry of Environment. Now it’s an interests struggle between government, city council and the former owners of the allotments that were expelled from the site and expropriated during Ceausescu’s ordering. There are also the environmental NGO’s that militate for maintaining the fauna, along with the common citizens that are claiming something more like a leisure amenity.

Besides this complex struggle or the common people desires, the real inhabitants (that also have no word to say in any decision that would be taken) are the animals forming the rich fauna, along with some squatting gypsy  that make their living seeking for metal scraps.  The city council regularly banishes them from their self made huts, but they return back having no other option for living. It’s a back and forth cycle, a kind of vicious circle in which the first aspect that is highlighted by the local inhabitants is the security issue.

The ex-owners have been trying to redeem their plots arguing with the local authorities, although the real owner in the government. Taking into account the whole context mentioned above, we can add the lack of transparency of the central authorities that didn't hesitate to lease the land to a private investor without any public debate. The enterprise in charge didn't take any advantage of this affair, further running in debt and disappearing from media.

After this scandalous episode that happened 10 years ago, the Lake Văcărești reentered in the public agenda again, now with the warning of the environment specialist that are rising awareness about the preciousness of this land. A campaign launched by National Geographic resulted in a photography exposition meant to draw people’s attention about this forgotten place. However, this summer the place was declared a natural reservation.

 

 

Land nick names, Neologisms and slang terms

The place is currently know as Groapa Văcărești - The Pitt hole Of Văcărești or Delta dintre blocuri - The delta between blocks, or Delta București - Bucharest Delta because of it's similarities with the fauna of Danube Delta.

Location


Address

Calea Văcărești Boulevard , Bucharest , Romania

Land Topography

Size of the Land in sqm (approx.)

24760

Surfaces

  • Swampland
  • Small Ponds
  • dike
  • concrete

Features

  • concrete
  • delta
  • trees
  • swampland
  • mud

Land status and definition

Basic

  • Post-Industrial

Legal Status

  • In Public Ownership

Current Land Owner


Known intended future use by the land owner(s)

Historical (basic)

This aria dates back from XVIII century. Here was the place of the V?c?re?ti Monastery, which no longer exists since its demolition during the communist regime of Ceau?escu. In fact, the project of the artificially lake of V?c?re?ti was the cause behind the demolition of the monastery. In its megalomaniac visions, Ceau?escu wanted to develop a great Olympic complex, but the project launched in ’88 was stopped one year later due to the imminent revolution. In the early communist regime, the monastery was used as a state prison, most of the inmates where convicted due to political or religious reasons.

Weblinks

Land Access

Accessibility

  • Accessible

The lake is situated in south-east of Bucharest, almost 5 km far away from the city center

Borders

The main area of the wasteland is surrounded by an artificial concrete bank that clearly delimitates two different “worlds” but which interfere one with another in subtle ways, like sound overlapping , or visual juxtaposition. The subtle ambiguity between cityscape and natural landscape is highlighted by the tall structures around the site that shapes thefar silhouette of the city (the cooling funnels of the CET South (a CHP power station), a flow measurement water tower the larger area is further delimitatedon the north side by the quay of Dambovita River.

Land Users

Land is occupied by

  • - Homeless people
  • animals
  • birds

Activities

Activities: People come here for fishing, photography, picnic, jogging, cycling, urbex; a peculiar activity is bird watching, practiced both by amateurs and professionals;

Illegal actions: squatting, poaching, drug consumption

Fauna: almost one hundred species of birds (pheasants, gulls) mammals (musk, fox

Ecology: there are large amounts of trash on the southern portions of the bank

Compare to Wasteland

Explorers

Methods