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After joining the European Union back in 2007, the word “sustainability” started to be heard more frequently in Romania. New opportunities for people to explore and learn from Western countries were suddenly opened, but also new minimum requirements to be met. Baby steps have been taken since then, sometimes because of bureaucracy, sometimes because of other priorities, and sometimes just because of lack of money.
Let’s have a look at the five biggest cities in Romania and their way to the green side: Bucharest – the capital city (population 1,677,985), Cluj-Napoca (population 309,136), Timisoara (this is my city, population 303,708), Iasi (population 263,410) and Constanta (population 254,693). They all share a few things in common: they want an urban regeneration, to reduce energy consumption and use modes of transportation other than cars.
A bit late, but in March 2009 the Romanian Government approved a program for the rehabilitation of residential urban buildings constructed from 1950–1990. And there are plenty of those. There were four benefits from this action plan: increasing the energy efficiency of the buildings by 40%, changing the facades (I must tell you, some of them were not very nice), protecting the environment by reducing emissions and a reduction in the amount of money spent by building owners, a lot of which was being funded by national and local governments.
In the matter of alternative transportation, all five cities agree that bikes will need to be used more frequently. The largest bike-sharing project in the country – I’Velo – was launched in May 2010 in Bucharest. Cluj-Napoca followed in July 2010, Constanta in April 2011, Timisoara in April 2012 and Iasi in June 2012. Each city is hoping this will help reduce their carbon footprint, build a community of bike lovers and sustain the development of adequate infrastructure for cyclists.
Additionally, over the last three years, Timisoara, Cluj-Napoca and Bucharest celebrated European Mobility Week - an annual campaign encouraging sustainable urban mobility. Citizens are beginning to embrace it, with more people taking part every year.- See more at: http://renewablenow.biz/the-sustainable-community.html#sthash.8lmCEPTd.dpuf