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Volume X, Number 2, 2014

Different Aspects of Regional Development in East-Central Europe
Pages 3-14

ABSTRACT – The aim of this paper is to explore and analyze the main characteristics of East-Central Europe’s spatial structure, including its changes during the recent years. In many territorial researches, there is an intention to define different types of regions and to establish territorial regularities, create models, etc. In this case, we analysed the regions of East-Central Europe based on their comprehensive socio-economic data and described the most important characteristics of the spatial structure of this macroregion from different perspectives. Some results show that the social and economic core areas are highly separated from each other and the development “image” of East-Central Europe has remained the same viewing from the aspects of bigger, homogenous areas, but became more mosaic with the appearance of some separated and improving regions, strengthening the model of the “Bunch of Grapes”, not the “Boomerang”. Other results show that it is difficult to create a spatial structure model for this macroregion, because the results may depend on the viewpoints.

Keywords: regional development, spatial structure, East-Central Europe

Strategic Planning for the Development of the Danube Area
Pages 15-26

ABSTRACT – The article includes concepts, information, methodologies of spatial planning focused on the Danube carried out within the European projects “Donauregionen” and “Donauregionen+”, financed by the European Union through the South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme. The article proposes solutions for solving problems related to the opportunities offered by the Danube as an important corridor to support the economic growth and competitiveness of functional regions in the Danube area. The current situation in the Danube River riparian land-use planning policies involves (a) creating the spatial concept of the Danube area interregional level, b) developing integrated strategies to develop sectoral strategies embodied in the Danube area, the Transdanube strategy and development strategies for the Danube region as a whole. In this general scheme, indicators have been proposed, designed on four main areas (natural conditions, housing and human resources, technical infrastructure and transport, and economy). Based on the analyses conducted in the project, five Danube sub-regions and 19 Transdanube regions were established. Using the forecasting methodology proposed in the “Donauregionen+” project, three types of scenarios were developed for each sub-region: pessimistic, realistic and optimistic. All these scenarios have resulted in GIS cartograms, based on groups of territorial indicators that highlight the socio-economic development capacity of the Danube sub-regions.

Keywords: strategic planning, Danube, GIS scheme, socio-economic indicators, the Danube Strategy, Transdanube Strategy

Socio-Environmental Issues of Marginal Territories within the Romanian-Bulgarian Cross-Border Area
Pages 27-38

ABSTRACT – The territorial system overlapping cross-border areas shapes a particularly dynamic and complex functional area. This paper synthesises several research outcomes regarding the social and environmental dysfunctions and opportunities defining the marginal territories that were emphasised during the ‘Analysis and diagnosis of the current situation in the cross-border area’, a phase of the project ‘Common Strategy of Sustainable Territorial Development of the Romanian-Bulgarian Cross-Border Area’ (SPATIAL). The main indicators concerning the population structure and movement highlight a series of problematic aspects within the cross-border area: population decline, significant rural population concentration on the Romanian side, demographic ageing, increase in the age dependency ratio, and a negative natural growth and migration rate. The analysis also indicates areas of socio-demographic potential that are marked by population growth, a significant young population presence that is convergent with an important share of active population. In this perspective, the spatial analysis also focused on identifying natural drivers affecting development and restrictive factors, on the environmental quality evaluation, as well as on establishing areas exposed to natural and technological risks. Therefore, delineating and analysing components underlying social and environmental processes were intended to determine those issues and opportunities considered to influence the evolution of this potentially functional area.

Keywords: cross-border area, functional area, demographic potential, natural drivers

An Urban Perspective upon Moldavian Settlements. From Political Desideratum to Territorial Reality
Pages 39-46

ABSTRACT – This research study focused on the current state of the urban space in the historical Moldavian Region from an urban legislative perspective. Since the 2003-2005 stage, the settlement system in North-East Romania has undergone severe transformation. Thus, some villages were raised to the rank of towns, without meeting the legally defined minimum conditions, in terms of quantitative and qualitative indicators. By using the GIS technique and basic statistics, it was possible to analyse the current network of urban settlements in Moldavia (21 cities and 33 towns) from the perspective of 16 urban indicators. The indicators ranged from demography, access to safe water, sewerage, central heating, number of beds in hospitals, number of doctors to education facility access, culture and sports, hotels, road access and wastewater treatment facilities. All of the 16 indicators were summed and a final urban coefficient was obtained. The results were interpreted and particularly pointed out in GIS environment. The conclusions emphasise that, after nearly a decade, none of the current towns meets the minimum conditions of being an urban settlement.

Keywords: Moldavian settlements, political desideratum, territorial reality, urban perspective, GIS, regional development

Strategic Planning and Urban Development by Using the SWOT Analysis. The Case of Urmia City
Pages 47-54

ABSTRACT – A strategic planning is an important tool to guide the urban planning. It will help maintain a focused, long-term vision of the urban mission and purpose, and aid decisions about the urban development. In reality review and understanding of urban development, its strengths and weaknesses are of major importance in the strategic planning. Today, awareness of strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats are a necessity for urban development plans and programs. Urmia City, despite being rich in natural and human resources, it faces difficulties in terms of unsustainable development due to the lack of proper utilization of resources and environmental degradation of agricultural land suitable for industrial and residential land uses. The aim of the current research is to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in Urmia city. This study is applied and it utilizes both descriptive and analytical methods, but also the AHP and SWOT methods. The result of the study indicates that, for the development of Urmia City, the overcoming strategy has the maximum score (4.07), whereas the negatives control strategy has the minimum score (1.77). Therefore, Urmia City should make the maximum use of strengths and opportunities in order to reduce weaknesses and threats.

Keywords: planning, strategic planning, urban development, SWOT analysis, Urmia City

Connection between Brownfields and the Labour Market at Subregional Level
Pages 55-66

ABSTRACT – The regions in depression due to deindustrialisation – the old industrial regions – can be defined by common internal characteristics, characterised by brownfields springing into existence, dwindling human potential, labour market depression and secondary migrational push. The primary focus of the article is the rust belts appearing following deindustrialisation, brownfields and their complex revitalization, especially in terms of the labour market. The aim is to prove the correlation between brownfields and the labour market at subregional level in Hungary by analysing two regions characterised by negative deindustrialization, namely Észak-Magyarország and Dél-Dunántúl. Local Moran’s I was used to analyze regional autocorrelation between brownfields and the labour market indicators. Furthermore, subregions smitten by industrial depression are discussed in detail. The study considers the following hypothesis: in Hungary, brownfields came into being following deindustrialisation, especially negative deindustrialisation, which influences the labour market at subregional level. It is also supposed that the failure of development is due to misconceived revitalization. Using my previous results, I set up a new model of revitalization, which, in my opinion, can be facilitated by utilizing a new development.

Keywords: brownfield, labour market, Hungary

Geo-Demographic Risks in the Apuseni Mountains. Demographic Ageing
Pages 67-74

ABSTRACT – – The territorial system of the Apuseni Mountains can be considered a critical region from a geo-demographic viewpoint. This is due to two major geo-demographic risks that affect it at present, namely the massive migration, mainly of the young and adult population, and the severe decrease in birth rate, also as a consequence of migration. These two processes determine the main two geo-demographic risks within the Apuseni Mountains: on the one hand, depopulation and the geo-demographic decline of the settlements and, on the other hand, population ageing. The present study aims to analyse the latter by focussing on the Land of the Moţi. Conclusions emphasise a rather severe process of demographic ageing. The rate of the old age group increased from 17.9% in 1992 to 25.2% in 2011. All the 16 administrative-territorial units under analysis recorded an increase in the rate of the old age group. In 2011, the ratio of the extreme age groups (young population/old age group) is above the unit (1) both in the region as a whole and in the majority of its administrative units.

Keywords: critical region, migration, demographic ageing, population feminisation

Promoting Spatial Data Synthesis for Vector-Borne Disease Assessment in Romania
Pages 75-86

ABSTRACT – Given the continually human interaction with the environment, the present paper reveals the spatial data integration of environmental factors such as topography, vegetation and surface temperature with epidemiological statistical data for assessing vector-borne diseases in Romania, monitored between 2009 and 2011. This study is a small piece of a big puzzle, part of an extended research that evaluates the contribution of geospatial and ground observation data to public health assessment. It is intended to implement a useful and innovative system for Romania’s public health, which provides information on various aspects such as the prevalence of diseases, facilities that are available in order to take decisions on, either for creating infrastructure facilities or for taking immediate actions to handle situations.

Keywords: spatial data, vector-borne disease, NDVI, LST, WestNile, Tick-borne encephalitis, Lyme borreliosis, population

Determining the Climate Calendar of Tourism in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, Iran
Pages 87-94

ABSTRACT – Sistan and Baluchestan Province spans five degrees latitude, with variations in natural phenomena, with cultural and historical resources and beautiful beaches in the south that have a great potential in attracting tourists. To investigate the relationship between climate and tourism, the climate index has been developed so that data are presented showing the individuals’ reactions to climate. The current study chose the tourist major cities of Iran and meteorological data was used to calculate the 20-year period up to 2012. In order to calculate the three climate indices (Predict Mean Vote – PMV, the Physiological Equivalent Temperature – PET and the Standard Effective Temperature – SET), RayMan software was used. These indices were then discussed and the spatial distribution of climatic comfort was represented in GIS environment. The most important national, religious, historical, and natural places in the province were presented and the climate calendar of tourism was identified. The results showed that tourism is concentrated in two periods, hot and cold. The cold period in southern cities such as Chabahar, Konarak and Sarbaz makes them tourist destinations, while the cities of Zahedan, Khash, Zabol, located at higher latitudes, are chosen tourist destination in spring and autumn. Summer has the highest thermal stress in the province.

Keywords: climate calendar of tourism, Sistan, Baluchestan, bioclimatic indicators

Guidelines for Including Gorges in the Tourist Offer of the Apuseni Mountains
Pages 95-102

ABSTRACT – In any tourism development plans, the starting point ought to be the accurate assessment of the tourism resources that can be efficiently put to use. When evaluating the potential for the tourism development of karstic gorges, the most objective criteria were applied: the attractiveness of each gorge, the location and the competitive forms of tourism that can be developed in the area. As a result, we have identified four categories of gorges: primary, secondary, complementary gorges and those of less relevance for the tourism phenomenon. The next step that would have a direct impact on the development of tourism around gorges (building of infrastructure, access roads, etc.) is to consolidate and revitalize the brand of each gorge in order to define it as a unique tourist destination. Effective branding of gorges starts with establishing the unique selling proposition, consisting of those attributes of high specificity that determine certain dominant types of tourism. It is only after identifying the strengths that build up their own tourist brands that one can consider including these landmarks in thematic routes, creating synergy and adding value to the whole gorge ensemble.

Keywords: gorges, tourism, brand, unique selling proposition, Apuseni Mountains

Assessment of Socioeconomic Vulnerability to Floods in the Bâsca Chiojdului Catchment Area
Pages 103-111

ABSTRACT – Hydrological risk phenomena such as floods are among the most costly natural disasters worldwide, effects consisting of socioeconomic damages and deaths. The Bâsca Chiojdului catchment area, by its morphometric and hydrographic peculiarities, is prone to generate these hydrological risk phenomena, so there is a high vulnerability in the socioeconomic elements. This paper is focused on the identification of the main socioeconomic elements vulnerable to hydrological risk phenomena such as floods, based on the assessment of their manifestation potential. Thus, following the delimitation of areas with the highest flood occurrence potential (susceptibility to floods), major socioeconomic factors existing in the basin, considering human settlements (constructions), transport infrastructure, and agricultural areas (the most important category), were superimposed. Results showed a high vulnerability for all three exposed socioeconomic elements especially in valley sectors, of which household structures were the most vulnerable, given both their importance and the high number of areas highly exposed to floods (approximately 2,500 houses and outbuildings, out of a total of about 10,250, intersect the most susceptible area to floods in the study area).

Keywords: floods, vulnerability, socioeconomic risk elements, Bâsca Chiojdului catchment area