A first glance at statistics: origins of blocks of flats with seismic risk in Bucharest

Image from http://bucurestifm.ro/

I arrived home just over a week ago and started planning the upcoming 2 months in more detail. I’m excited to start my research into the buildings with severe seismic risk in Bucharest. Although I’m apprehensive about the outcome, I hope that it will contribute to the exciting research into the effects of urban decay and living with seismic threat.

From a distance, the first few obvious questions that I asked myself were “What are the origins of these buildings?” and “How did this situation occur?”. The starting point is the readily available data provided by the municipal government [1] that includes the construction dates and date of structural investigations.

It is immediately apparent that the majority of the class 1 seismic risk buildings with public implications were built in the 1930s, with a discernible peak around this time.

Histogram showing the spread according to year of construction

Building with class 1 seismic risk recognised as a threat to public life are likely to have high occupancy levels or be in a severe state of disrepair. This suggests that these buildings either house public services (like municipality offices, government offices, schools, or museums) or have been poorly built. This is particularly interesting as the 1930s, globally, was a period of severe economic recession and characterised by instability.

With this in mind, I envisage the dissertation will touch on the economic context that might have affected these buildings, as well as social issues that they either encourage or are affected by.

For Romania, the interwar period seems to have been particularly prolific. The times of Greater Romania are fondly remembered as a glory period of Bucharest, which was know as the “little Paris”. Nationalism flourished and was proudly displayed. At the 1939 NY World Fair, the Romanian pavilion greeted visitors with the inscription “ROMANIA HAS OVER 20 MILLION PEOPLE COMPLETELY UNITED IN LANGUAGE, TRADITION, AND CULTURE”, a motto that perfectly articulated the nationalist ideology that had come to dominate Romanian politics and societal views. I’m looking forward to researching the period more thoroughly.



1. [No title] [Internet]. [cited 16 May 2017]. Available: http://www.pmb.ro/servicii/alte_informatii/


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