The Bucharest of tomorrow as imagined in the last century

Mihai Ene

Rezumat/Abstract. The inhabitants of Bucharest, but not only them, have always had a nostalgia of a capital comparable to the great European metropolis. Their imaginary related to this issue is, more often than not, bookish, but there have also been competent voices (architects, builders, engineers, or politicians) who knew how to lucidly identify the needs and possibilities of the town on the banks of the Dâmboviţa river, to propose viable solutions able to correct the shortcomings of the present and, more rarely, to analyze ways and means by which their city can become a truly modern one. In the majority of cases, the envisioned renewal comes down to building imposing institutional buildings, improving the banks of the river, the development of the transportation network and harnessing the potential of the northern lakes. Few authors have proven to be able to tackle the usual issues of urban plans in a coherent manner (the public space/private space relationship, building height regulations, communication networks) and fewer still, mainly professionals, have succeeded in sketching, even concisely, the list of priorities and the steps to be followed for the builders of the future. Not all those who have entered this debate have called for a modernization in the Western sense, some claiming that the loss of the picturesque qualities of the old capital will result in a depersonalization of Bucharest and its transformation into a failed copy of the Western capitals. Although incomplete, superficial or even naive, all these fragments of the imaginary of Bucharest are a testimony of love of the residents for their city and can bring a contribution to a better understanding of today’s realities of the capital of Romania.

Cuvinte cheie/Key words: modernization, city, history

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