On October 2, 2017, World Habitat Day was celebrated. The event takes place every year, in the first month of October, and was instituted by the UN in 1985, with the aim of paying attention to the fundamental right to adequate housing. The UN’s intention is also to “remember that each of us has the power and responsibility to decide what our cities and villages will have in the future.” PACT Foundation, MKBT Association – Make Better, Valea Corbului Initiative Group, DEP Bumbești Jiu and GAL Reșița celebrated the World Day of Housing in Bumbești Jiu, as part of the “No man’s land” project: Informal living in Roma communities – recognition responsibility and common solutions. The project, which runs between August 2017 and January 2019, aims to document the informal housing in Romania, as well as to propose solutions aimed at responding to the various informality situations encountered in the field. Bumbești-Jiu was chosen as a place of celebration, since the DEP – Bumbești – Jiu organization is a partner in the project. In addition, two situations have been identified in the city of Jiul defile that meet the criteria for defining informal settlements:
- Tetila, an informal dwelling area of the type “slum” developed on the outskirts of the locality
- ICH Colony, informal dwelling within the former workers’ colonies.
Moreover, the meeting ended with a working visit to Tetila, where the main problems were identified: lack of clarity regarding the owner / owners of the land on which houses were built and / or lack of building permits.
The celebration of World Housing Day was also the occasion for the first joint meeting of the partners in the No Man’s Land project. During the working meeting, it was agreed on the two definitions of informal settlements, which will be used in the project:
- Illegal residential formations lacking basic infrastructure, security of possession, adequate housing conditions, etc. (UNECE, 200
- Residential formations usually developed on the outskirts of urban or rural settlements, where land use has an illegal or legal status, and the constructions are unauthorized or partially comply with the permits obtained, which lack access to the basic technical-urban infrastructure, adequate housing conditions, etc. ., which endanger the safety and health of the resident population (Suditu & Vâlceanu, 2013).
Also, during the working meeting, there was also discussed the presentation of a legislative proposal, as well as the possible risks of the actions, such as the risk of creating wrong expectations or unfounded fears about our efforts among people from informal settlements, risk which can be minimized through clear communication of the initiative. The participants, however, were optimistic about the success of a legislative proposal that would offer solutions for solving the different situations of informal settlements.