Starting mid-October 2020, we’ve partnered Geospatial to develop a Map of Informal Settlements in Romania. This initiative if based on our finding that awareness on the scale of informal housing in Romania is very limited. As a consequence of this lack of ackwnowledgement, there is a lack of support programs and a limited practice of intervention mechanisms to help these communities. An inventory – made long ago by the Ministry of Development based on a questionnaire circulated in 2014 – counted over 64,000 households living in dwelling which lack legal forms (ie land titling, property act on the building, building authorization etc). However, we can certainly assess that this figure is underestimated compared to reality, given that just over half of surveyed local authorities responded to the survey.
The Map of Informal Settlements in Romania aims to be a civic initiative to collect data on informal settlements across the country and illustrate these on a dynamic map. We do not expect for our approach to be comprehensive. We rather wish to create a platform for crowdsourcing data contributions from NGOs, institutions and people concerned with informal housing, in order to illustrate the scale, diversity and distribution of these settlements. We also see it as an opportunity to get to know other stakeholders involved in addressing the challenges of informal housing in Romania in order to spark collaborative efforts and joined up initiatives.
Along with this map, we aim to publish an updated Guide on Interventions in Informal Settlements, starting from the content of our previous guide on this topic, but updated with the new legal provisions and methodological norms published across 2019-2020. We will also launch a podcast on housing issues, with a first episode dedicated to informal living. All these resources will be published by mid-December 2020 – follow our website and social media for updates! This work is part of the project titled “Living in shacks: no electricity, no water, no titling”, implemented with the financial support of the Fund for Civic Innovation, a program developed by the Foundation for Civil Society Development of (www.inovarecivica.fdsc.ro). The 2020 call for projects was launched with the support of Enel Romania.