Ştei, the Secret Uranium City: Industrial Legacy between Ecology and Architectural Preservation in Romania
Industrial branches such as (gold, uranium) mining, steel, oil, or nuclear industry are directly linked to their environmental footprint. Once these industries close, however, their communities are left with a complex balance between ecological reclaim and patrimonial acknowledgement. The disappearance of the production site in the brownfield regeneration projects left scars on the cultural identity of local communities, with theoretical, ethical, and practical questions on if, why, and how such ‘toxic’ built legacies should be maintained, acknowledged as heritage, and used as assets in the post-industrial revitalization process. The research project will tackle strategies and practices for the preservation of the industrial legacy facing the ecological footprint in connection with patrimonial acknowledgement and economic enhancement. These issues will be approached through the case study of Ştei, a former industrial town built in the early 1950s as the headquarters of the Soviet uranium exploitation sites in Romania during the Cold War. The closing of the uranium mine in 2008 led to its territorial, economic, and socio-cultural isolation while facing the issues of contamination and radon radiation in the built and natural environment.
Contact Andrea Luciani if you would like to attend this lecture.