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Volume IV, Number 1, 2008

The Socio-Economic Development Plan of Romania, 2007-2013 – Context and Premises
Pages 3-6

ABSTRACT – Having the role of a preamble in the elaboration of the National Development Plan for Romania for the period 2007-2013, whose sequences will be hosted by the following issues of the review, the paper underlines the economic and social context in which the plan was formulated. It is the first coherent territorial development plan elaborated after 1990, which is logically structured, with precise objectives, elements that confer an imperative actuality and a definite theoretical and practical value. The favourable premises of its implementation are underlined, as regards the rich and diversified natural basis, and the numerous and of quality human resources, respectively.

Keywords: national development plan, natural support basis, human resources

DONAUREGIONEN: The Spatial Development Concept of Interregional Cooperation in the Danube Space
Pages 7-14

ABSTRACT – Between 2006 and 2008, the National Research and Development Institute for Urban and Regional Planning URBANPROIECT Bucharest participated – within the framework of EU programme INTERREG IIIB – at the DONAUREGIONEN Project: The Spatial Development Concept of Interregional Cooperation in the Danube Space. The aim of the project was to create a complex assemblage of knowledge about the potential possibilities of development in the Danube regions and the related interregional relations, to initiate common steps when choosing the regional development centres and to encourage cross-border cooperation. This action should help to overcome the existing information barriers and also the local authorities in the stage of planning the regional and city development. The project was structured by a summary evaluation of the development potential on the Danube area – analyses of problems, interests, and conflicts. The elaboration of the summary documents was based on the general answers to the four thematic fields representing the basic functional complex:
1. Natural resources, environmental protection, and creation;
2. Human resources, urban structure, and quality of life;
3. Transport and technical infrastructure;
4. Economic structure.
On the basis of this summary evaluation, a concept of development and arrangement of the territory of the Danube area and a typology of regions will be developed and, finally, proposals and recommendations will be elaborated for regional and local authorities dealing with the regional and city development planning.
The result of the project will be mainly to outline:
– the conditions for the optimization of technical, territorial, socio-economic, and environmental relations in the Danube river corridor;
– the existence of mutually linked and balanced urban and economic development centres, which will have positive influence on the development of their regions, and
– the conditions for the constitution of a development corridor that will act as a stabilization agent balancing the regional disparities in the different member countries.
The Geographical information system supporting the elaboration of the Donauregionen project system was conceived as a working GIS storing all the geographical data necessary for the processing of project outputs. All the geographical data were distributed in the WGS-84 system of coordinates. The project area of interest includes a territory within 5 countries of the Danube region (Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania).

Keywords: spatial planning, development centre, GIS, Danube region, regional development

Territorial Balancing of Poles of Development
Pages 15-32

ABSTRACT – The paper is part of the study “Specific problems of the development of the settlement network in south-eastern Romania. Regions of development 3 (South), 4 (South-West) and 8 (Bucharest-Ilfov)” elaborated during 2004 – 2006, within the AMTRANS programme funded by the Ministry of Education and Research, coordinated by INCD – URBANPROIECT in partnership with the Institute of Geography of the Romanian Academy and the Qualification in Statistics National Centre. The general objective of the project was sustainable and balanced spatial development of the settlement network and promotion of new relationships between urban and rural. Concretely, the study has produced a model of a polycentric and balanced settlement network according to the European principles. The case study testing and validating this model took place in southern Romania, territory exhibiting acutely the entire range of problems related to the state of the settlement network: profoundly large rural areas, accentuated dynamics of declaring new cities without sufficient evidence, excessive polarization exercised by Bucharest, etc. The paper presents the intervention directions needed to balance in the territory urban poles within the studied area, focusing on the establishment of orientation policies to consolidate the role of each settlement based on the hierarchical level of importance: European, national, regional, and local. The paper also identifies possible functional urban areas: the metropolitan area of Bucharest, areas of potential strategic integration, areas of cooperation between the small and medium-sized cities and the rural regions. Within each of these areas, the paper proposes to establish new relationships between urban and rural based on partnership, involving cooperation and coordination in achieving common goals. The study considers that the poles of development are the key element of proposed model, and their identification, formation, and balanced distribution must represent the main direction of action, orienting policies for the sustainable development of the urban system. The constant financial effort needed to implement integrated policies for a balanced development of the settlement network results into a long term improvement of living conditions in urbane and rural communities.

Keywords: settlement network, policentricity, urban poles of development, balance, urban-rural partnership

GIS for the Valorization of Hardly Accessible Alpine Areas with Complex Potentials for Tourism, with a View to Their Inclusion in Tourist Routes. Development of the Valleys of Lotru and Olteţ
Pages 33-36

ABSTRACT – VALOT originates in the experience of European countries from the Alpine Space that succeeded to establish three top priorities for hardly accessible mountain areas based on communitarian programs (Natura 2000, Interreg IIIB – AlpNa Tour, VIADVENTURE, RegioMarket, etc.): competitiveness and attractiveness of the Alpine Space, accessibility and connectivity between high altitude settlements, environmental protection and prevention of natural hazards and disasters (snow falls, land slides, etc.). Starting from the project of Law on Approving the National Spatial Plan – Section VI – Tourism, the project aims at evaluating the current resources of hardly accessible mountain areas with complex potentials for tourism according to the experience of the European Union. GIS analysis will underline national/regional disparities of these areas, leading to conclusions on their typology and intervention proposals. The second part will focus on a case study of a hardly accessible area with a high landscape value and still un-valorized potentials for tourism. The existing situation of the area between the Lotru and Parâng mountains, consisting of the territories of four communes and a city, belonging to the counties of Vâlcea and Gorj, will be analyzed. Based on a spatial development scenario using selected statistical and geographic indicators, intervention priorities will be analyzed with the SPATIAL ANALYST, as well as funding possibilities for the creation of a cluster of mountain resorts (Rânca, Vidra, Voineasa) in order to valorize the recreational and balneary patrimony of the area, observing principles and objectives of sustainable development in mountain areas. The project will create a methodology for diagnosing problems and dysfunctions of such areas, development possibilities based on the experience of the pilot study, proposals for improving the institutional framework for implementing, monitoring and evaluating the results and (last but not least) funding sources.

Keywords: spatial planning, instruments and techniques, spatial scenarios, GIS, mountain areas

OpenGIS System to Monitor the Impact of Spatial Planning Policies
Pages 37-40

ABSTRACT – Based on the studies of European experience in spatial planning (policies, strategies, indicators), the project aims to create two databases for Romania, one at region level and one at the level of the administrative-territorial unit, in OpenGIS system using adequate indicators allowing for the identification and measurement of socio-economic development trends in a spatial context. To achieve this, competent studies will look at the differences between the European territorial indicators (EUROSTAT, ESPON) and the national ones, level NUTS II, or NUTS V. Following the identification of the two sets of territorial indicators, the structure of alphanumeric databases will be conceived in GIS. Concomitantly with the NUTS V digital map of Romania, alphanumeric databases will be fed with statistical data according to proposed territorial indicators schemes. Proposed model will be tested on territorial analyses by groups of indicators. The novelty consists in the spatial planning approach based on the conjunction between GIS and mathematical methods of evaluation and prognosis, the transposition of the mathematical method in a TurboC++ program, and the integration in the proposed system. Based on the results, NUTS II and NUTS V territorial indicators will be classified in groups, in charts and maps underlining socio-economic development disparities at national level. The GISTEREG project is conceived to be integrated into the OpenGIS database proposed by ESPON, aiming at a fast quantification of European regional policies. This is why the structure of the database will be conceived in accordance with EUROSTAT, level NUTS V, and ESPON and the Regional Operational Program – Priority Axis VI, level NUTS II. The proposed GISTEREG model, due to the mathematical component integrated into the system will be able to diagnose the main existing challenges and forecast the development of regions and zones within Romania. Databases obtained and presented in OpenGIS and mathematical instruments will provide a scientific method that could help identifying the underdeveloped areas requiring priority interventions based on European funds. Also, based on the experience of the purposed Consortium, punctual solutions will be recommended for a balanced development of the national territory.

Keywords: spatial planning, instruments and techniques, spatial scenarios, territorial impact of policies and strategies, creation of geo-referenced data and metadata bases and mathematical models, spatial scenarios

Levels of Biological Diversity: a Spatial Approach to Assessment Methods
Pages 41-62

ABSTRACT – Biological diversity, interpreted as a variety of natural and man-dominated biological and ecological systems, plays an important role in assuring their stability and can be interpreted at different spatial scales, based on the hierarchical level of the system (biocoenose/ ecosystem, biome/complex of ecosystem, biosphere/ecosphere). Literature distinguishes six levels of biodiversity, namely alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, and omega. The current paper lists methodologies appropriate for assessing diversity at each of these levels, with a particular focus on regional diversity (gamma, delta, and epsilon diversities), i.e. CORINE land cover classification and the biogeographical regions of the European Union.

Keywords: α/ β/ γ/ δ/ ε/ ω diversity, ecological systems, CORINE, biogeographical region, region of development

Vrancea Vineyard: A Rural Area with a European Comparative Advantage –The Wine
Pages 63-76

ABSTRACT – This article intends to disseminate the partial results of a work that lasted more than three years and involved a substantial number of resources at both national and international level within the COHESION Project, implemented under the C.I.P. Interreg IIIB CADSES Neighbourhood Program. The Vrancea vineyard was the pilot area for the Romanian study and the main activities of the Romanian team (Urbanproiect Bucuresti, Partner Project no.13) within the project has been focused on this area. The COHESION (Integrated COncepts EnHancing CohESion of EurOpeaN Space) Project aimed at enforcing the cohesion of the CADSES area, through developing policies to meet the problems of the European rural space. To this context, the project developed during 2003-2005 applied a methodology focused on increasing competitiveness of areas. An indicative product (wine), in which the involved areas provide a comparative advantage, has been targeted and integrated development pilot projects have been implemented in the participating areas. The Project’s area of intervention consisted in the territories of Karditsa, Achaia and Nemea in Greece, the territory of Steirisches Vulkanland in Austria, Meissen in Germany, Appennino Reggiano in Italy, Northwest Bohemia in Czech Republic, and Vrancea in Romania. The aim of the project was “to investigate the development process in remote agricultural areas from practical point of view, i.e. locate the factors that hamper or promote local development in the remote agricultural zones of the CADSES area, and provide this information to other local development actors, so as to facilitate their action and thus contribute to accelerating convergence of the space in question and cohesion of the European territory” (PINDOS Strategic Planning Centre, 2006). The approach planned and applied by COHESION was the bottom up approach. Parallel and similar development projects (pilot activities) were generated in a number of the areas involved and the experience acquired by the project partners was compared and examined. A synthesis of the particular experience in the form of recommendations and hints to potential local development actors was elaborated under a final manual, a methodological guide for local development actors, so as to help people involved in the development practice to avoid mistakes and better plan their actions and thus become more efficient in their mission.

Keywords: wine growing, local competitiveness, local development, heritage

Aspects Concerning the Rainy Spells in the Western Plain of Romania
Pages 77-86

Abstract – The present work analyses the rainy spells on the territory of the Western Plain at the North of the Mureş River. Daily precipitation data were used from a number of 5 weather stations and for a period of 42 years (1961-2002). Only the stations with a common observation period were chosen. Periods with two or more consecutive rainy days were studied and the analyses show a total of about 7,000 rainy spells. The number of the rainy spells grows from the South to the North once with the latitude but also from the West to the East, once with the altitude. Within a year may occur, on the average,about 30-35 rainy spells with an average duration of 4 days. The duration of the rainy spells varies between 2-19 days. On the analysed territory, 119-141 rainy days may occur annually, on the average. Namely, on this territory it rains on the average about 4-4.5 months a year. Most of the rainy days were recorded in the intervals November-January and April-June.

Keywords: rainy spell, rainy day, length, frequency

Microregions and the Elimination of the Regional Disparities
Pages 87-101

ABSTRACT – The regional problem is always a present one and regional development that involves the elimination of regional disparities is present as a fashionable phrase, but also as an effective process within the territory of the eight regions of development. These have no juridical status but they work towards a regional development, through the elimination of the intra-regional disparities (among the counties that are part of a region) and the inter-regional ones. The regions of development – formed out of counties – do not have administrative status, nor do they have legislative or executive bodies, but they coordinate projects for regional development. Following their example, the voluntary associations at inferior levels of the regions resulting in the so-called “microregions” are now more and more common. The present study aims to analyze the way this new notion, “microregion”, is understood in Romania, by giving examples of such microregions and their scopes and it also wants to show how these benevolent associations at a microregional level serve the aim of eliminating the regional disparities – in fact, microregional disparities.

Keywords: microregion, regional disparities, planning