The translocal use of the urban. Urban arrangements in Comănești – Romania. 2017

Master Theses

Within migration processes, inhabitant’s actions link several places together. By circulating, moving and returning they produce the urban space. This process is understood as “the translocal use of the urban” and refers to its generative aspect. The “urban in use” has its base in the field of practices, namely the discovery and reinterpretation of scopes.

Having as background the Eastern European labor migration, the interest in a link between migration and urban development and the focus on places of origin, this thesis deals with the question of how the urban is constituted in use. For this, I take the Romanian small town Comănești and bring the everyday life of its citizens to the forefront. Six practices – recruiting, emigrating, returning, waiting, establishing businesses and rebuilding – are presented in detail and analysed by means of three central theses: 1) Absence is the precondition for both moving and returning; 2) Being mobile for some means waiting for others; 3) The manifold connections speak against shrinking. In a synopsis, the work argues that by their actions, actors expand, reorganize and link urban spaces. By doing so they generate multiple connections. Therefore, their practices translate into the constitution of the city.

Complementary to the inhabitants, the book also considers the urban planning activity of Comănești. During this process, it recognizes their practices also as part of the urban production. In this context and opposite to the present planning work, I call for the re-position of the actors and the mobility as a starting point. Furthermore, I propose the recognition of non-controllability and disorder and therefore pose the question of an adequate planning action.



Urban Design Thesis Project by Ruth Coman


Prof. Dr. Monika Grubbauer


Professor, History and Theory of the City