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Accepted Paper:

"We will have our own SOHO": reconversion and the construction of the 'exotic' in central Bucharest  
Roxana Moroşanu Firth (Capita)

Paper short abstract:


Paper long abstract:

The Ark is the new name of Bucharest's pre-war custom's house. The building (dating XIX century) was bought and reconverted by a cluster of companies working in creative industries. Opened in 2009, the building lodges now advertising and public relations companies, designers' workshops, a contemporary art center and a space for cultural events (concerts, exhibitions).

In the same time, several different actors (besides the owners of the Ark) use different strategies to appropriate the whole neighborhood (composed by small old houses lived or squatted by a Roma community and a Roma flower market). The neighborhood is now imagined and produced as "exotic", as the place for alternative culture that can be used by the members of "creative class". The "reinvention" of alternative culture as ethnic tolerance in the public discourse started in Bucharest by using glass and steel to reconvert an old red-bricked building.

Panel W050
Social imagination and urban crisis in postindustrial cities
  Session 1