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Volume VIII, Number 1, 2012

Geographical Information Systems Assessment of Development Disparities Among Romanian Regions of Development
Pages 3-16

ABSTRACT – New strategies of the European Union, focused directly on regional development or originated from different areas, but leading to changes in this field, had resulted into a set of indices used to monitor the effects of their implementation. Previous studies suggest that flexible systems perform better and could strengthen the administrative capacity of accessing structural and cohesion funds. Our study used the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to produce hierarchies of the territorial indices at NUTS level II, displayed as charts and maps underlining the disparities between the socioeconomic, cultural and environmental aspects of the development. The results suggest that the regions with a low potential of development are situated in the south of Romania, but, most important, underline the potential of the method to be used as a planning tool in regional development, as its flexibility allows for an input with particular focus from different stakeholders, resulting into the selection of different indices and weights.

Keywords: regional development, GIS, EUROSTAT indices, ESPON, Lisbon Strategy

Urban Health and Welfare in Sub-Saharan Africa: Population Growth, Urbanisation, Water/Sanitation Services, Slumisation and Poverty
Pages 17-30

ABSTRACT – Spatio-temporal analysis was applied on data representing urbanisation, slumisation, poverty, safe water/ sanitation in urban sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The findings include: rapid rates of national population growth and urbanisation throughout SSA from 1980 to 2005, averaging 93.8% (range: 90.5% points), lowest and highest rates being 40% (Lesotho) and 130.5% (Niger), respectively; high national poverty rates, widespread in SSA: (>50% in about seven countries; it might have been similar in more countries if a large number of SSA countries had reported their 1993 poverty rates; high urban/rural poverty ratios (1.05-1.79 points range) between Nigeria and Benin Republics. High average rate (73%) of slumisation in SSA in 2001 (range: 96%), lowest and highest rates being in Zimbabwe (3%) and Chad/Ethiopia (99%), respectively. SSA’s 2000 health adjusted life expectancy was generally low: 38.8 years (<40 years in 24 countries).  Use of safe/improved water/sanitation services were poor almost throughout SSA: declined rapidly and ubiquitously from 72% (2000) to 55% (2002), minus 17% points decrease in three years within individual countries with alarming declines up to minus 69% points in Guinea. The policy implications of the findings include the urgent and imperative need to massively implement urban improvement programmes designed to provide health-inducing services/facilities across SSA.

Keywords: SSA, urbanisation, health, sanitation, water, population growth, poverty, economy, slumisation, region

Reshaping Localities in Romania: the Local Economic Development Strategy of the Municipality of Gherla
Pages 31-44

ABSTRACT – There is empirical proof that some localities consistently grow faster than others and these differences in economic growth rates cannot be explained only with respect to one local factor. However, economists have given surprisingly little attention to the question of the sources of variation in local growth rates, especially to the ones related to strategic planning. Moreover, in many cases, regional strategies have failed to address local development patterns. Previous scientific contributions on good government issues show a strong correlation between the per capita income growth and various measures of local strategic planning. The aim of this paper is to integrate different approaches on local economic development, by elaborating a local strategy for the Municipality of Gherla, in North-West Romania. The analysis of the economic pre-conditions is based on a collection of micro-data, while the planning outputs are the result of a participative process, including a survey among citizens and workshops with local business and public bodies. The study concludes that when focusing on local economic development, strategic planning should be a task of local participative process that considers not only the regional and national priorities but also the local specificities. Moreover, the study gives recommendations for continuing the process of local strategic planning.

Keywords: strategic planning, local development strategy, economic development theory

The Territorial Differences of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Romania
Pages 45-52

ABSTRACT – Romania, following the abolishment of the communist regime, has entered a new stage of development, not just on a social dimension, but from a political and economic point of view as well, this process being the so called transition. As result, many of the state owned companies have been transferred into the private sector, a process that has closely been followed by the emergence of enterprises established entirely with private capital. The increase of their numbers was anything but linear, with many oscillations correlated with the state of the economy and the changes in the legislation. Furthermore, these changes have taken place at a different pace in the different parts of the country, contributing to the rise of disparities regarding the number and development of SMEs in the whole territory of the country. These property transfers, besides the aspects mentioned earlier, have dramatically influenced the number of the occupied population, resulting – around the middle of the nineties – in the increasing rate of unemployment, which has gradually started to decrease due to new jobs created by newly established private firms, but also because of the way the Romanian State keeps evidence of the unemployed people. This study will mainly concentrate on analyzing the changes that have taken place in the last years as regards the number of SMEs in Romania, on measuring inequalities in the different areas of the country from this point of view, as well as their trend and their effect on occupying the country’s workforce.

Keywords: Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, inequalities, concentration

Territorial Disparities in the Population Dynamics. Comparative Analysis Between Bucharest-Ploieşti Corridor and Bucharest-Piteşti Corridor
Pages 53-60

ABSTRACT – The present paper is a comparative analysis of territorial disparities in the population dynamics of the settlements along two corridors of major national importance. The objective is to prove that a key corridor starting in the capital city of a country has both positive and negative effects on the network of settlements it goes through. The capital influence is widely felt in both areas studied, nevertheless there are differences which were analysed starting from the premise that the borders of Bucharest metropolitan area are currently up to 50 km around the capital and that the area of influence is continuously expanding territorially. These differences are generated by the fact that although Bucharest is a major pole of social-economic phenomena, its influence on the settlements in the neighbouring area varies in intensity because urbanisation, development and modernisation are intense, but within a limited area. The existence of the two corridors had an impact upon the configuration of localities causing the extension of the built-up areas in the localities close to the roadway, especially parallel to it. This is particularly related, but it is not limited to the increase in the supply of/demand for land plots earmarked for building dwellings of a higher standard – main or secondary residences. The evolution of the population dynamics of the settlements alongside the two corridors is closely related to the social-economic changes occurred in the area influenced by the three cities (Bucharest, Ploieşti and Piteşti) and to the intensification of urbanisation.

Keywords: net migration rate, natural growth, total balance, corridor, rural settlements

The Evolution of Regional Disparities in the Rural Areas of Muscelele Argeşului
Pages 61-70

ABSTRACT – Regional disparities are clearly a significant challenge to the new European construction. Disparities are often sources of instability but are also the sources of antagonism and unrest. In the case of Muscelele Argeşului, in the past, it was a unitary area in terms of economic and social development, the two Middle Ages royal capitals keeping the balance of this area. After the 50s, the situation changed radically, and the uneven development of the towns and villages began to widen. Some villages were collectivized; others were industrialized, while a third category was simply omitted from the development plans. As a consequence, development disparities evolved and became common during the 80s. After 1992, around the towns of Curtea de Argeş and Câmpulung, two relatively more developed regions emerged, while regions in the north and central part of the area were disadvantaged. Since 2002, we are witnessing a reduction of disparities because the underdeveloped areas are increasing and incorporate previously developed areas. The area is starting to become a huge underdeveloped area and one of the main factors that led to this situation is the decay of the two poles of regional development, as well as coal mines closed. Today, the entire area is experiencing a rebirth and the entrepreneurial activities are playing an important role. The huge number of small hotels and accommodation establishments, constructed in the last five years in the west part of the area, coupled with several investment projects in Curtea de Argeş have led to the increased regional importance of the town to the expense of Câmpulung. In the meantime, former mining centres that where the engines of growth for the region became rather underdeveloped. The main cause of this is the fact that the region does not have perspectives and lacks the much needed entrepreneurial activities.

Keywords: rural area, local disparities, underdeveloped areas, disadvantaged areas, entrepreneurial activities

The Spatial Distribution of Settlements in the Bârgău Mountains
Pages 71-78

ABSTRACT – Based of the specific geomorphologic and hydrologic background, the Bârgău Mountains have faced an extensive and prolonged human process, the main vectors being the two morpho – hydrographic axes  (Ilva-Leşu and Bârgău-Bistriţa), including the interfluvial areas, which were introduced, in different degrees, into the humanized territory. Thus, two habitational zones are distinguished, the one of Ilva and Leşu (in the central part) and the one of Bârgău and Bistriţa, in the south. The present study aims at emphasizing the main aspects connected to the territorial distribution of habitats in the Bârgău Mountains, from a double perspective: quantitative and morphological. The analysis of the quantitative distribution of settlements was made starting from the calculation of some synthetic indicators (the settlement density, the area coefficient, the dispersion indicator, the average distance between two localities). As altitude plays an important role in the spatial distribution of habitats, four “generations” of settlements were identified depending on the elevation levels. The most numerous localities in the Bârgău Mountains (16 out of the total of 20) are situated between 601 and 1100 m, illustrating the specific morphometrical features of the territory. Besides the role that the terrain plays in the distribution of habitats, the swarming processes (through displacement and saltation) have to be mentioned, as they contributed to the confinement of the forest surfaces, so that, now, the Bârgău Mountains represent a strongly humanized area.

Keywords: quantitative distribution, morphological distribution, settlement density, area coefficient, dispersion indicator, average distance

The Human Pressure upon the Environment Through Agricultural Land Use in the Desnăţui Plain
Pages 79-86

ABSTRACT – Through its activities, one way or another, Man leaves a mark upon the environment. The Desnăţui Plain is an important agricultural region, a feature also confirmed by the increased number of rural settlements and a high percentage of arable lands. Practicing agriculture, man exercises a pressure upon the environment through various types of land use: arable, vineyards, orchards, pastures and grasslands. In order to be able to analyse the interaction between the man and the environment, we used the following formulae P = S/N where P represents the human pressure (ha/inhabitant), S = surface of the analysed area (ha) and N = number of inhabitants from the analysed area. The data was collected from the Regional Department of Statistics of Dolj and from the County Department of Statistics of Mehedinţi, processed using mathematical formula and interpreted based on the resulted maps.


Keywords: human pressure, environment, arable, orchards, vineyards, pastures and grasslands

Tourism Restoration and Remodelling of Borsec Resort 
Pages 87-92

ABSTRACT – For the past decades, with its important social and economic projects, health tourism has become a major international tourist market segment. Major human and material resources focus on it with an even deeper involvement of science and technology in order to provide complex and high quality tourist and medical services, required to satisfy the vital necessities of modern man, due to population’s changes in health state and living conditions.

Keywords: spa tourism, health tourism, mineral waters, villas, wellness, tourist restoration and remodelling

The Effect of Economic and Social Restructuring on the Towns of Nehoiu and Pogoanele
Pages 93-97

ABSTRACT – Since early 1989, the small settlements of Nehoiu and Pogoanele, located in the south-eastern part of Buzău County and declared towns in the same year, entered a new stage of evolution. After a long period of evolution under socialism, people and especially authorities decided to adjust the evolution and the development of settlements. This change did not only have repercussions on the entire economic base but also on the population, imprinting a descendent evolution. Economic restructuring is felt on the quality of life, purchasing power is increasingly smaller, many families are poor, with the possibility of living only from one day to another. Industry and agriculture have suffered the biggest change in the sense that the labour force in these two areas has steadily decreased. Current development opportunities include: increasing the share of active population in the tertiary sector and attracting investors from the private sector.

Keywords: economic restructuring, social and economic decline

Book review
POP, ANA-MARIA – Ţara Bârsei. Studiu de geografie regională [The Land of Bârsa. Study of Regional Geography], Presa Universitară Clujeană, Cluj-Napoca, 2011, 410 p.
Pages 98-100

Book review
COCEAN, POMPEI – „Ţările”: regiuni geografice şi spaţii mentale [“The Lands” as Geographical Regions and Mental Spaces], Presa Universitară Clujeană, Cluj-Napoca, 2011, 247 p.
Pages 101-102

News and events
Page 103