Skip to content
CityLab
Design

If Your City Were Wrecked by Totalitarian Urban Planners

Spend a moment sitting in the shoes of Bucharest.
relates to If Your City Were Wrecked by Totalitarian Urban Planners
portmanteau.ro

Romanian authoritarian ruler Nicolae Ceauşescu infamously left a heavy mark on the capital city of Bucharest with a massive urban planning scheme known as the Centrul Civic. In the 1980s, the project displaced 40,000 people, demolished churches and monasteries in the way, and replaced it all with 8 square kilometers of communist-era concrete buildings and government complexes in the heart of what had been a historic city.

One of the new monuments, the 3.7 million square-foot Palace of the Parliament, is thought to be the largest administrative building in the world, and it anchors the Centrul Civic along a dramatic axis in much the same way that the U.S. Capitol does in Washington, D.C. To this day, the palace and the brutally rebuilt urban fabric around it remain “perhaps the most violent scar left by a totalitarian regime,” in the words of Bogdan Ilie and Dan Achim.