BR Analysis. Bucharest, an unhappy and crowded city, with 8,260 people per square kilometer

Newsroom 27/07/2018 | 07:03

When you are stuck in traffic and cursing the mayor and the city, remember this. The population density in Bucharest is 8,260 people per square kilometer. This is double or even triple compared to other capital cities in the region. That is no excuse for the mayors – all of them are guilty for the current state of the city.

Remember when the city was developing chaotically, even more so than today? When developers were building offices, shopping centers or residential projects in areas with undersized transport and utilities infrastructures? Well, the situation hasn’t changed much in the past 15 or 20 years.

The problem is getting worse because the city continues to be too small. Bucharest, in terms of surface, is one of the smallest capital cities in the region, with only 412 square kilometers of urban area: 20 percent smaller than Budapest, around 100 square kilometers smaller than Warsaw, and around 80 square kilometers smaller than Prague or Sofia.

And at the same time, in terms of official population, Bucharest is the largest city in the region, with 1.9 million inhabitants, compared to Warsaw with 1.77 million, Budapest or Prague with 1.6 million.

Population density, close to a crisis

”Population density is indeed even three times higher than the rest of the capitals in the region, being mostly concentrated in the urban area. Being so densely populated, the city is generally affected by the fact that business, recreation and living areas can no longer be defined. Today, the city is a mix of all three components – business, recreation, living, and the lack of infrastructure does not allow access to new areas for the decongestion of the city,” said Ioan Nastase, consultant in the land & development department at JLL Romania, the real estate consultancy firm.

Bucharest has a density of 8,260 people per square kilometer, compared with  3,314 people per square kilometer in Budapest. Prague’s density per square kilometer is 3,366 people, while Sofia only has 2,448.

As a result, all capital cities in the area have more air to breathe than Bucharest, more space for urban development, and unfortunately, more and better ideas to build a greener and smarter city, with happier people.

”We see an attempt to convert former industrial platforms into real estate projects – office, retail or residential – depending on the location. This move will create new business poles, which will take over from the agglomeration of already established areas, but on the whole, the issue of access from the urban area to the metropolitan area will be maintained. At the same time, we see that more and more people living in the metropolitan area, but working in Bucharest, are looking to return to the city to live in order to avoid the tiring every day commute,” Nastase explains.

And there aren’t many solutions. As long as the city stays strangled and the Metropolitan area project is not developed, Bucharest will continue to be crowded, polluted and overpopulated with unhappy and nervous people.

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