Cluj-Napoca Metropolitan Zone: Between a Growth Pole and a Deprived Area



The growth pole strategy has proved to be one of the main tools that the EU is using in its idealistic pursuit of economic and social cohesion across Europe. The objective behind this concept is reducing regional economic and social disparities by directing the investments towards a location presenting a growth pole potential, which will at its turn spread the development in the surrounding economical space. However, reducing the inter-regional disparities often claims an ironical, if not cynical, price to pay: the increase of intra-regional disparities, at least for a first stage. In Romania’s case, this price seems to be paid in vain, as neither the Government nor the metropolitan level appears to have correctly understood the purpose and the mechanism of the Regional Operational Program. A major confusion has been made between the potential of a growth pole and the existence of a growth pole, and as a consequence, investments designed for underdeveloped areas are now addressing developed areas. In the case of the Cluj-Napoca Metropolitan Zone, the situation has worsened due to the contrasting economic and demographic profiles both within the rural part and as compared to the urban part. The spreading development potential is denied by the unfeasible and undemocratic associative structure of the Cluj-Napoca Metropolitan Zone, which is leaving the rural zone no tool at all to protect itself, let alone follow its interest.


growth poles; Regional Operational Program; regional disparities; Cluj-Napoca Metropolitan Zone; integrated plan for urban development.

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