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Romania - District 5 Urban Development Program : Deliverable 4.2 - Design Competitions for Areas of Interest (Romeno)

The scope of this activity was to help the District 5 City hall to organize design competitions for the rehabilitation of areas of interest within the District. Given the cumbersome public procurement system in Romania, design competitions enable higher quality urban design solutions (as the focus is more on the technical quality and not on price). For example, the City of Cluj-Napoca uses this approach for most of the large urban interventions it undertakes. Images below show urban spaces in Cluj-Napoca that have been rehabilitated with the help of design competitions. This approach to urban development has, among others, brought Cluj-Napoca in the top 6 finalists for the European Capital of Innovation 2020, the only city in Central and Eastern Europe among the finalists. Design competitions are not only useful for achieving better quality and more attractive urban spaces, but they also enable the integration of key sustainability and inclusion principles in project design. For example, public spaces can favor pedestrian and bike traffic and include calming measures for motorized traffic, they can be designed with people with disabilities in mind, and they can include critical climate mitigation measures. The problem with classic public procurement procedures is that city staff often do not have the technical expertise to include in a Terms of Reference all the aspects associated with good urban design. Even when local technical capabilities and capacity are high, city staff may not always have access to the most connecting-edge and innovative ideas in the field. Design competitions, by focusing on the quality of technical proposals, judged by experts in the field, help to bring to the fore innovative and cutting-edge ideas.




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