“Pata Cluj Roma Inclusion”

The author, Enikő Vincze was invited to make a presentation with this title at the 7th Dialogue of the Council of Europe with Roma and Traveller Civil Society, “Protecting family life by securing housing and preventing evictions” Strasbourg, 11-12 April 2019 – Working group 2: Housing and Cities in a time of change: are we focusing on People? The overall objective of the working group is to explore and develop concepts for analysing institutional and organisational change and dynamics in affordable housing provision. Government policies, management reforms and rapidly changing social and economic contexts have placed new expectations on social and public landlords. In addition, policies encouraging partnering with the private sector and/or direct private market provision of social/public housing have blurred the lines between public and private housing activities


While discussing about the “Pata Cluj” project from Romania,[1] as a contribution to the organizers’ aim “to explore concepts for analysing institutional and organisational change and dynamics in affordable housing provision” I am proposing to make use of two concepts:

(1) externalization of the accountability of public authorities in what regards housing provision for low income people;

(2) rescaling the solution of territorial desegregation from the level of the city to the level of metropolitan area.

But before discussing about how “Pata Cluj” project contributed to the trend of externalization and rescaling housing provisions, I would like to critically address two interrelated issues:

  • On the one hand: the phenomena mentioned in the description of this working group, i.e. “government policies, management reforms and rapidly changing social and economic context” – I am going to talk briefly about them under the heading of changing housing politics under the conditions of post-socialist capitalism;
  • On the other hand: the formation of the deprived housing area from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, called Pata Rât, as a local manifestation of the general phenomenon of housing crises, which is exactly the area on which the “Pata Cluj” project focused on between October 2014 and April 2017. 

At the end of my presentation, I will read the “Statement on Pata Rât” of the movement Căși sociale ACUM!/ Social housing NOW! from Cluj-Napoca.

My presentation might bring three contributions/ recommendations to the discussions of this meeting of the CoE on housing, which are the following:

  • A need for mainstreaming the “housing policies for Roma”, since the major manifestations of housing crises that affect impoverished ethnic Roma are part of a larger systemic problem that needs to be solved by the means of changing housing politics altogether.
  • A need to address the responsibilities of the EU, and in particular of the EC on the domain of housing, and formulate demands in what regards the need to modify some major aspects of the compulsory economic policies (such as the competition rule, and the fiscal surveillance of the countries), so that member states could invest public money into public housing.

A need to address all the housing issues faced by impoverished ethnic Roma people as a whole, i.e. when looking for measures to legally recognize informal settlements, to provide measures for social protection, measures for legally forbidding forced evictions and also compulsory measures for providing public social housing as alternative housing solutions. The demand for security of tenure should be applied in the case of several types of tenure.

[1] The references made to the project are inspired by a study made by Foundation Desire as member of the consortium of the RELOCAL research project with the financial support of Horizon 2020: Bădiță C and Vincze E (2019) The Pata Cluj Project. Residential Desegregation of the Landfill Area of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. RELOCAL Case Study N° 25/33. Joensuu:
University of Eastern Finland.

Atelier RELOCAL – Inegalități spațiale și locative, dezvoltare teritorială și efectele acestora asupra comunităților rome din România

În cadrul Atelierului de Lucru, echipa RELOCAL România a făcut următoarele prezentări:

Cuvânt deschidere – Atelierul de Lucru în cadrul cercetării RELOCAL,
Enikő Vincze

Manifestări ale nedreptății spațiale în locuire, Enikő Vincze

Locuirea informală și proiectul Mălin-Codle, Iulia Hossu

Segregarea teritorială și proiectul Pata Cluj, Cristina Bădiță

Zone rurale defavorizate și proiectul Mara-Natur Maramureș, George Zamfir

Regenerare urbană și proiectul Plumbuita-București, Ioana Vrăbiescu

Atelier de Lucru, RELOCAL – România, 30.01.2019

Agenția Națională pentru Romi și Fundația Desire, organizație parteneră la cercetarea RELOCAL (Resituating the Local in Cohesion and Territorial Development, http://relocal.eu), derulată printr-un proiect Horizon 2020 în perioada octombrie 2016 – septembrie 2020,

organizează Atelierul de Lucru cu tema Inegalități spațiale și locative, dezvoltare teritorială și efectele acestora asupra comunităților rome din România.

Acest cadru oferă oportunitatea ca reprezentanți și experți de la instituții și organizații de la diverse nivele (național, regional, județean și local) implicate în procese ale dezvoltării teritoriale, precum și cercetători din domeniu, să aibă o dezbatere internă despre:

– modul în care planurile de dezvoltare răspund la realitățile inegalităților spațiale și locative în România de azi;

– măsura în care proiectele locale beneficiare de fonduri nerambursabile pot contribui la creșterea coeziunii sociale și teritoriale;  

– felul în care strategiile de dezvoltare răspund la nevoile comunităților rome afectate de disparități teritoriale.

Programul Atelierului de Lucru

se va desfășura între 9.30-18.30 în cadrul următoarelor sesiuni:

Sesiunea 1. Reducerea disparităților socio-spațiale – obiectiv guvernamental al  dezvoltării teritoriale

Sesiunea 2: Inegalități spațiale, locuirea în sărăcie și dezvoltarea teritorială

Sesiunea 3: Locuire precară și intervenții pentru îndreptarea injustiției spațiale

Sesiunea 4:  Sub-dezvoltare în zone marginalizate, și intervenții de regenerare socio-economică și urbană

Discuții despre temele Sesiunilor


Forms of spatial injustice and actions embedded in territorial governance structures – cases of Romania [ Enikő Vincze, Cristina Bădiță, Iulia Hossu, Ioana Vrăbiescu, George Zamfir]

We propose using the analyzed actions as cases, which illustrate larger processes of development in Romania both in the sense of the production of spatial injustice manifested in numerous forms, and in the sense of the solutions that different stakeholders conceived at the crossroads of several territorial governance structures in order to tackle them. Starting from how RELOCAL understands spatial injustice (as “the spatial dimension of social injustice”, which is about an unfair “distribution in space of socially valued resources and the opportunities to use them”[1]), this paper proposes the politicization of the concept by addressing it as a phenomenon created by uneven development,[2] at its turn being an endemic feature of capitalism as a political economy that generates a development, which inevitably produces inequalities including “spatial imbalances”, as the above quoted World Bank statement reflects. 

This contribution to the RELOCAL working papers from the part of the Romanian research team is developed in five chapters, as follows:

  1. The production of spatial injustice in the larger context of changing political economy
  2.  The actions embedded in the existing territorial and policy structures of Romania
  3.  Case study 1 – Pata Cluj
  4.  Case study 2 – Mălin Codlea 
  5. Case study 3 – PIDU Plumbuita 
  6. Case study 4 – Mara Natur

[1] Ali Madanipour, Mark Shucksmith, Hilary Talbot, Jenny Crawford: Conceptual Framework for the ReLocal Project, 2017

[2] E. Vincze: Uneven development, racialized spatial injustice and the case of (de)segregation in Cluj Napoca, Romania, manuscript, conference paper 2018, https://www.desire-ro.eu/?attachment_id=3624

Uneven development, racialized spatial injustice and the case of (de)segregation – draft paper


Spatial injustice understood as “the spatial dimension of social injustice” is “caused by the power relations and procedures that enable the domination and oppression of certain groups of people, and by the way that space itself is constructed and used”, and it is about an unfair “distribution in space of socially valued resources and the opportunities to use them” (Ali Madanipour, Mark Shucksmith, Hilary Talbot, Jenny Crawford: Conceptual Framework for the ReLocal Project, 2017). The paper proposes the politicization of the concept of spatial injustice in the direction of conceiving it as a manifestation of uneven development that stays at the core of capitalism. It addresses the formation of an informal and systematically underdeveloped housing area in Cluj-Napoca, Romania that illustrates how capitalist development works by transforming the urban space into commodity that – on the one hand – serves capital accumulation and – on the other hand – intensifies the dispossession of labor. Marginal and destitute housing areas formed as a result of these processes are the low-cost locations where the exploited and expropriated cheap labor force is reproduced. Therefore, the interconnectedness of marginal spaces with racialized labor has a productive role in the formation of capitalism in Romania. One may observe that in the due process, both segregation and desegregation practices and discourses are contributing to the racialization of impoverished ethnic Roma and are intermingled with the (re)production of class inequalities.

Vincze_uneven development-racialized spatial injustice

RELOCAL interim report on national policy frames: Administrative organization and territorial development in Romania

During the period of time when the RELOCAL pilot case study in Romania was implemented, we decided to start the investigation of national policy (legal and institutional) frames in what regards territorial development. At the end of the day (by the end of the four case studies), our aim is to produce a study on national level in order to describe how is territorial development, and possibly the issue of spatial (in)justice defined and approached in the policy documents adopted by Romania, and how is it understood by governmental actors at national level. Beyond being a study with a value on its own, this national level study will be used as a background for each and every locally specific case study in order to highlight the shared frames of policies across national level. In the period October 2017 – January 2018, Desire Foundation’s research team started the documentation work in this matter and managed to partially process the gathered materials (offical documents available online, and interviews made with three persons from the Ministry of Regional Developmen, Public Administration and European Funds). This document will be developed further in parallel with the four case studies to be conducted in Romania starting with March 2018 and will be the base of the planned national study.

pilot report_national level-shortened-English


    1. The administrative-territorial organization of Romania

1.1. Administrative-territorial units (localities and counties)

1.2. The development regions as statistical units and units for coordinating regional development

1.3. Regional development policy and institutions

1.4. The Intercommunity Development Associations at the level of Metropolitan Areas

  1. Regional disparities in Romania

2.1. Poverty – from an interregional and intraregional perspective

2.2. The Gross Domestic Product – from a regional perspective

2.3. The population number across regions and localities

2.4. Employment figures across regions

  1. Territorial dimension of EU policies

3.1. From regional policies to territorial policy in the EU

3.2. Regional development and territorial cohesion in Romania in the context of the elaboration of its Partnership Agreement with the EC 2014-2020

3.3. The ideal of polycentric development

  1. THE National Program for Local Development
  3. ANNEXES. Documents related to territorial development 


Desire Foundation takes part in the multi-partner RELOCAL project

The persistence and exacerbation of territorial disparities in the European Union, coupled with the insecurity that the economic crisis and austerity policy have generated, threaten the vision of cohesion underpinning EU policy in the past decade(s). Spatial justice lies at the centre of the RELOCAL project, taking a decidedly bottom-up approach within a multilevel context. It departs from the basic premise that localities and their functional spaces represent the contextual nexus where the relationship between individuals and spatial justice unfolds. Thus, a core rationale of the RELOCAL project is to contribute to conceptually and empirically expanding the knowledge base on spatial justice and territorial inequalities, identifying the policies promoting spatial justice and socio-economic well-being at various levels of governance.


At the onset, the RELOCAL project undertakes a critical review of the literature about spatial justice associated with territorial cohesion, sustainable development and solidarity in order to develop a theoretical framework that includes these concepts and an analysis of the variety of European territorial models. One challenging aspect in this regard is linking the European Cohesion Policy debate more directly to ethical questions that have been raised in political and social theory regarding “fairness” and “justice”. As an element of spatial justice in territorial cohesion, fairness would require greater social understanding, more targeted engagement with different groups and their specific needs, and sensitivity to questions of access, opportunity and local capabilities. An important step in advancing current debate regarding the role of place-based development, local strategies and sustainability within broader understandings of cohesion, would be to elaborate notions of locale and the significance of the local in terms of theoretical conceptualisations, development scenarios and potential policy options.

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