Bucharest – Ilfov region – demographic and economic remarks

Bucuresti-Ilfov is a development region in Southern Romania, situated in the center of Wallachian Plain. It is a unique region due to the fact that country’s capital – Bucharest – is at the core of its main activities and, thus, the largest urban community and its adjacent areas contribute to the fastest growing region in the country. It also contains Ilfov county with two major urban areas – Otopeni (+10,000 inhabitans) & Buftea (cca 20,000 inhabitants). This is also the most dynamic region from a demographic, urbanistic and economical point of view.

The region is 1.812km² and comprises 2.208.368 inhabitants (as per 2006 statistics).

Economic activity is widely focused in Bucharest, Ilfov county being more of an additional space for the capital’s industries. Together they make up the largest industrial area of the country. The GDP is the largest in Romania, at about 5.616,7 euro/inhabitant, approximately twice as Romania’s average. All industries are present here, but lately workforce switched to services rather than manufacturing. This is also the area where industries such as construction, retail estate, retail, distribution and management have undergone a surprising growth.

Unemployment rates are very low compared to other areas of Romania – 84.2% of population of 25-34 years old is employed and 88.6% of the population of 35-44 years old is employed.

Transport infrastructure

Bucuresti-Ilfov region is highly accessible regarding transportation means thanks to its position on the Priority Axis Nadlac-Constanta and Priority Axis Giurgiu-Albita, which are to be built in the foreseeable future, and also close to the Danube River (Priority Axis Nr. 18).

Flight access is granted by two international airports: „Henri Coanda” (Otopeni) – the largest airport in Romania (70% of the flight passenger traffic in Romania) and „Aurel Vlaicu” (Baneasa).

Public transportation has an extensive and complex network comprised of buses (46,2% of all public transportation), trams (20,3%), trolleys (10,5%), subway (22,9%). It grants high mobility of workforce in the area.

Bucharest – Smart City

The transformation of a city into an inteligent one can be approached from one of these perspectives: e-government, IT education, urban development and planning, architecture, urban sociology, economy of the cities, environmental protection.

Smart city has the role to create and apply strategies for local and regional development. These strategies include solving problems generated by the administrative and economic dysfunctions, creating usefull proccesses for urban dimension of the city. The initiatives which want the transformation of a city into an inteligent one should have as a first purpose  the impact on quality of life and the expectations of citizens in relation to public authorities.

The characteristics of a smart city are:

  • smart economy – access, reuse, combining and processing Open Data from administration can lead to economic growth
  • increased mobility – implement a sustainable transport system
  • proper government – public access to information and involvement in decision making
  • favorable environment – integrate green technologies to provide services that ensure a high level of living, reduce carbon emissions, use of renewable energy
  • citizens acting smart – IT education for citizens in order to take efficient and effective decisions, relying on Open Data
  • equity – the use of technology in social inclusion and combating poverty

Between 2007 and 2013, through Regional Operational Programme, Romania has benefited from the implementation of 15 projects of transforming cities into smart cities. The projects had the purpose to create video T systems for areas with high infractionality and to reabilitate the public iluminate system. Through Increase of Economic Competitiveness Sectorial Operational Programme, in Romania have been implemented research projects, technological development projects and innovation projects. These projects have involved more than 600 economical operators, but also universities and research institutions.

One of the main directions for sustainable urban development in the European Union is supporting large cities so that they can be polarizing centers for neighboring towns and villages and intelligent core of the economy.

In Romania, the programming period 2014-2020 sustainable development direction will center the interest on territorial cohesion in the urban regeneration of small and medium towns, especially those mono- industrial.

Given the administrative division of the sectors in Bucharest, the City Hall is the institution responsible for the creation and development of major urban infrastructure projects, and the creation of urban development strategies. Infrastructure projects developed in recent years don’t have a clearly defined political background.

The main initiative started in Bucharest was in e-government area in 2003, and the first national project implemented was www.e-guvernare.ro. This project includes digital governance (public services through electronical methods) and digital democracy (citizens participation at governance). In 2012 European Commission proposed new reglementations to facilitate electronical transactions between different countries, allowing digital signatures. This fact facilitate the process of transmiting financial documents through e-guvernare.ro platform.

In 2013 Romania’s Governmenet, through Online Services and Design Department started the project hackaton.gov.ro for developing the following portals:

  • angajati.gov.ro – a single portal access to databases containing information of the persons composing public administration machine (officials, civil servants , contract staff );
  • buget.gov.ro – allow public access to information regarding the allocation of the state budget;
  • data.gov.ro – is the central point of access to open data sets provided by public institutions
  • petitii.gov.ro – is the tool by which citizens can be involved in decision-making, drawing the government’s attention on issues important to the community
  • posturi.gov.ro – is the portal that gives access to all advertisements for public functions and vacant contract positions in authorities and central and local government institutions

Of these, currently work only: buget.gov.ro and posturi.gov.ro. data.gov.ro/ is functional, but does not have the information updated.

IT education for citizens, and especially for public officials is a direction which received european funds in the last years.

From the perspective of intelligent transport, Bucharest’s main problems are lack of lanes for public transport, lack of access ramps, the existence of vast areas of the city without access to subway, lack of infrastructure dedicated for bike transport.