The Amphibious Communities of Fundeni Lake, Bucharest

For a better relation to water

Located on Colentina River, the Fundeni Lake offers a rich environment with an interesting diversity of fauna, flora and communities. By walking along the lake you might experience the openness of your environment while finding yourself in an intimate relation with nature. This intimacy, which is the main asset we want to enhance in this project, is reinforced by the proximity of “rural” built areas (suburban areas), framed by the blocks perceived as a distant background of the surrounding landscape.

However, this strength is threatened by uncontrolled development, exaggerate privatization of land, and the degradation of natural environment. In addition, existing communities live disconnected from the natural environment. This is a result of lack of awareness, certain poverty and an exclusive understanding of nature and culture.

On the other hand, acknowledging how much health and happiness of human being is related to nature, we face this paradoxical situation with a vision to generate an amphibious place with a more symbiotic relation between the existing community and the River Corridor of Colentina. A system approach was selected to address these challenges by empowering and connecting local communities. For instance, the strategy for Fundeni Lake proposes to initiate in the short term bottom-up initiatives, which will create a sense of community. In the midterm, a set of actions will contribute to restore the natural environment and will set the ground to develop more proactive activities. In the long term the goal is to sustain a balanced relation between nature and the surrounding community.

The Urban River Corridors of Bucharest

A Design Workshop, 4-10 March 2017

The context :

« Both Dâmbovița and Colentina went through radical transformations throughout their history, yet their presence is hardly felt in the city. Dâmbovița changed, after a two-phased transformation, from a meandering wetland to a canal that today is completely absent from the mental maps of the citizens, whereas Colentina was slowly cut off from the city by an uncontrolled process of piecemeal lake-side privatisation. Besides the obvious need of draining the water through the city, neither one or the other seems to have an overall coherence.

Is it the city that changed too fast and grew indifferent of the two rivers or is it the way the rivers were designed that makes them so absent from the life of the city? These are not easy questions to answer, given the multiple institutional, property-related, spatial-morphological, social-economical, environmental and ecological facets of the problem. Nevertheless, the dysfunctional relationship between the rivers and the city is a fact that needs attention. All over the world, a growing number of cities have been facing similar challenges and realising the multiple benefits of returning to their rivers. Waterfront developments, renaturalisation projects, waterside promenades, and, with a wider scope, green-blue infrastructure projects are at the forefront of several urban planning agendas. Such projects aim not only for a ‘return to nature’, but also for social-economic activation, increased environmental quality, and improved urban resilience in a wider sense.

The workshop, entitled ‘The Urban River Corridors of Bucharest’, challenges all those who recognise these problems and who want to reveal the hidden links between Bucharest and its rivers. They will do so through design, a complex and multidisciplinary endeavour that targets both physical and process-related aspects of the urban environment. The workshop will provide knowledge and instruments for the design of integrated and resilient urban river corridors. Local experts, together with international guests will assist the participants and reflect on the outcomes of the workshop. »

Abstract, by Claudiu Forgaci, PhD researcher at TU Delft Faculty of Architecture, on