Temporary Uses of Urban Brownfields for Creative Activities in a Post-Socialist City. Case Study: Timișoara (Romania)
2. Conceptual Background
3. Territorial Context/Creative Industries in Post-Communist Romania
5.1. Typologies of the Sampling Locations
- Makerspaces (n = 7). This category includes activities that define an innovative type of industry, developed through art, creativity, science, engineering, based on access to innovative manufacturing tools and permanent mentoring. The preponderance of makerspace type locations, which epitomize an innovative kind of industry, attests to the fact that the siting of creative spaces, and especially of those that are technological in nature, occurs in neighborhoods of the city that are close to enterprises that were for a long time active in traditional industry .
- Community spaces (n = 5). Within these locations, the activities carried out aim at consolidating social cohesion through creative-cultural events (art exhibitions, performance art, and lectures), the creation of a new entrepreneurial community, by proposing specialized workshop programs, respectively. The revitalization of declining spaces through the involvement of the creative community is also a basic functional landmark of this category of spaces.
- Event spaces (n = 3) are focused on organizing thematic events, while in some cases, they even host business meetings. The events are addressed mainly to the community that joins the respective space.
- Coworking spaces (n = 2). Particularly attractive today, within the context of the fast development of remote economic activities or those in the independent sector, these locations bring together artists, IT programmers, creative fields consultants, who, based on membership, have access to various facilities.
- Incubator (n = 1). This location offers a common meeting place for the community concerned with the development of businesses and start-ups, within which managerial assistance, coaching sessions, etc., are provided.
5.2. Favorable Factors of Using Brownfields within Creative Activities in Timisoara
5.2.1. The Characteristics of the Industrial Spaces
“It isn’t just the modest rent that influences the choice of these industrial locations but above all the fact that they give you a large area” (AB, Lapsus); “The factory building was in good condition and its thick walls deaden the sound of the various machine tools we use in our production processes”(FV, IncubART).
“What we do makes a noise, but we are in an area where there is other industrial activity going on, and we are in the basement of a building, with no windows that could be broken as the result of our using various kinds of apparatus, and that’s an advantage for us”(AV, CreativeSpace).
“The inspiration for founding the MISC. organisation sprang from a wish to rehabilitate and promote an industrial space through art; from a wish to give the community a space for culture and to work on some cultural projects that would directly involve the community of the Iosefin industrial neighbourhood”(AW, Misc.).
“They have an aesthetic that is all their own [...], you don’t find it in new buildings. Industrial workshops are attractive from an architectural point of view; they are like walled cities with little fortresses”(AB, Lapsus).
5.2.2. Costs Associated with Renting and Managing the Industrial Space
“Given that the building is a former industrial space that required money spent on rehabilitation, the rent is less than half the real estate average for Timișoara; it’s two euros per square metre, while the average is five”(AV, Creative Space)
5.2.3. Features of the Insertion Space
“There are other creative spaces in this building, we enjoy their presence, we have developed and thought together projects, and when they need our space for different events, we give them the access key here. The success of some projects is greater when we manage to be closer spatially; it is a setback for the real estate interest”(A.B. Lapsus)
5.3. Restrictive Factors of the Development of Creative Activities in the Brownfields of Timişoara
“Our location here was a benefit for the owner, which is why we believe that the rent was lower, because we invested a lot in the interior rehabilitation of the building, […] before there was a mustard factory here, and the walls were in a deplorable state”(AV, Creative Space).
“First of all, this creative project, through its activities, aims to save from decline a construction of sentimental value for the inhabitants of this area, who for years have carried out their activity in this building, and subsequently this element of to promote industrial heritage, including tourism”(AW, Misc.)
5.3.1. Financial Vulnerability
“Membership numbers in our association fluctuate, which means we don’t have a steady contribution income to rely on month by month; the process of collecting the money is stressful, with delays, leading to delays in our paying the rent too, so naturally the owners put pressure on us”(MD, Plan Zero).
“We want these spaces to function as places in which a livelier artistic community can come together”(A.B., Lapsus)
5.3.2. Poorly Articulated Local Creative Community
“Passion no longer comes first; everything is commercial. [...] We started businesses too quickly, people aren’t ready for creativity or open to it, [...], I have the impression that we are 25 years behind civilisation, there is no active creative-domain community”(AV, Creative Space)
5.3.3. Low Degree of Involvement in the Management of Creative Activities
“With the exception of the administrator, no one wants to take on a managerial role” (MD, Plan Zero); “There are other spaces that have started a business of this kind, but they did not succeed, because you have to have someone responsible for running them full-time”(AV, Creative Space).
5.3.4. Disadvantages of Location
“Owners think that artists don’t produce anything, they don’t have confidence in our ability to pay the rent, but neither do they intend to invest in post-industrial spaces for cultural purposes”(A.B., Lapsus).
5.3.5. Real Estate Pressure
“I haven’t been here for more than 5 years, it’s just a matter of negotiation until the owners here sell it to real estate developers, and it’s very close to the mall.”(A.V., CreativeSpace)
“Spaces are freed while the activities are moved to different locations to gentrify the area. […] Industrial locations represent a huge potential, but I think that they will disappear in 10–20 years and even more from the effervescence of microcosm and creative micro-community will be gentrified”(A.B., Lapsus).
6. Discussion and Conclusions
Conflicts of Interest
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Marian-Potra, A.-C.; Ișfănescu-Ivan, R.; Pavel, S.; Ancuța, C. Temporary Uses of Urban Brownfields for Creative Activities in a Post-Socialist City. Case Study: Timișoara (Romania). Sustainability 2020, 12, 8095. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198095
Marian-Potra A-C, Ișfănescu-Ivan R, Pavel S, Ancuța C. Temporary Uses of Urban Brownfields for Creative Activities in a Post-Socialist City. Case Study: Timișoara (Romania). Sustainability. 2020; 12(19):8095. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198095Chicago/Turabian Style
Marian-Potra, Alexandra-Camelia, Ramona Ișfănescu-Ivan, Sorin Pavel, and Cătălina Ancuța. 2020. "Temporary Uses of Urban Brownfields for Creative Activities in a Post-Socialist City. Case Study: Timișoara (Romania)" Sustainability 12, no. 19: 8095. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198095