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A turning point involving concrete participation, commitment and community strategic development involving a Roma neighbourhood, Alba Iulia municipality and other key local actors and specialists was made possible through an EU-funded project, NODUS, in the period 2008-2010. It put the Roma issue on the agenda of urban regeneration projects in Romania. The challenge of this activity was not simply to bring consolidated standards into the Romanian context but rather to experiment with a new, successful approach, complementing the top-down and the bottom-up approaches.

Executive summary

NODUS Alba Iulia was part of a larger project of that name in URBACT II subtitled Linking Urban Renewal and Regional Spatial Planning,  which involved seven European partners. NODUS developed a perspective and a method to link spatial and strategic planning with interventions in marginalised, deprived areas so as to influence regional development and fight spatial segregation. The project’s main goal was to develop a series of recommendations for the better coordination of area-based urban regeneration policies with regional or metropolitan planning. It took into account the relationships between urban regeneration and those sectorial policies with a spatial impact designed at regional or metropolitan level, such as housing or transport, and the fact that these different policy elements are defined by different agencies often belonging to different administrative levels.

‘Local empowerment and public participation’ was not only the theme of this project, but its working method in overcoming the challenges posed by attempts to shift from the area-based and integrated approach to more infrastructure-related schemes. It also enabled the project effectively address Roma groups’ needs, at the same time influencing strategic, spatial planning and local urban regeneration policies.

Through the NODUS project, Alba Iulia municipality identified both from the statistical and the sociological points of view the detailed characteristics of the deprived area and the community that lives there. It was the first time in Romania that such a detailed, complex survey was applied at a specific neighbourhood scale, and not at the entire city level.

Moreover, while problematic communities with a significant Roma population can be identified in Romania, it is the first time an action plan based on clear rules and procedures, publicly debated and agreed by the beneficiaries, has been implemented. All the actions were based on the target community’s participation and organisation, and they took responsibility for both successes and failures, hoping that the project would be continued and followed up. Needless to say, while implementing the NODUS project, participants broadened their horizons, and discovered new perspectives as well as new challenges for the city and the community. Above everything, NODUS is about people and their lives, and about empowerment and building political will.

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Technical information


Gaining consent for change

Member State and Region

Romania, Centre Region, Alba County

Duration of project

24 months (21.04.2008 – 25.05.2010)


Total budget: 30 000 € (1st phase: 6 000 €, 2nd phase: 24 000 €) - ERDF contribution: 85% (25 500 €)

Cohesion Policy Objective


Managing Authority

The Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism (http://www.mdlpl.ro) in coordination with the Centre Regional Development Agency (www.adrcentru.ro)

CCI nr of OP

2007RO161PO001 Regional OP Romania


Crenguţa Raluca Man, NODUS Project Manager

Public Relations Coordinator, Alba Iulia Association for Intercommunity Development (AIDA) – Alba Iulia, Romania,

Tel. +40 727 349 443

Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


http://www.albaiulia-aida.ro/ (RO)


Empowerment and participation, Governance, partnership,

Urban renewal, disadvantaged neighbourhoods, social inclusion