Lacul Siutghiol Living Lab 2021

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Area Siutghiol Lake
Place Constanța
Country Romania
Topics WAVE Project
  • Istrate Elena
  • Istrate Ștefania
  • Izotov Ion-Daniel
  • Mocanu Doru-Alexandru
  • Niculescu Radu-Florin
  • Sefer Elis-Sibel
  • Tănase Teodora


As the urbanization processes have speeded up around the world, every natural element nearby the metropolitan areas often end up being sacrificed for the sake of economy purposes and Siutghiol Lake is no stranger to that. Covering an area nearly as broad as the hostile city in the south (Constanța), the lake has suffered of habitats degradation due to irrational tourism, nearby factories, illegal building procedures and lack of interest from the local administration. It is very important to preserve the area, as the lake serves as an important migratory route of the birds through the Via Pontica and the Sarmatian Route. The aim of this study is to cover every important aspect which led to the deconstruction of something that once was a hospitable environment.

Location and scope

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Water as a natural system

Geomorphology, typologies and dynamics of water areas

The Geology Around the Siutghiol Lake © Izotov Ion-Daniel.

Located in Dobrogea, northern of the Constanța municipality, Siutghiol Lake (sütgöl meaning „milk lake” in Turkish) has an area of approximately 20 km² filled with 69.6 million m³ of water (Telteu, Zaharia, 2012), reaching the depth of 18 meters (according to Gâștescu) and a 7.82 meters depth according to more recent measurements. Geomorphologically speaking, the lake used to be a bay in the past, directly communicating with the Black Sea, but because of the wave action, abrasion, accumulation, local winds and marine currents, a 300-400 meters width and 9 km long sandspit was formed, where the Mamaia touristic resort lies now.

The local depressions were shaped during the later Jurassic and early Quaternary times (100-160 million years ago) all these mainly because of the marine abrasion. These days, Siutghiol communicates with the Black Sea through Tăbăcarie Lake (which is 20 km southward) through anthropic canals. It also supplies the upper lakes of Tașaul and Corbu with freshwater through canals (some sources claim that the water supply has been stopped in the past years). Nearby the western shore of Siutgiol lies a 2.6 ha island of limestone composition named after the roman poet Pūblius Ovidius Nāsō who apparently wrote some of his poetry on this island as he was exiled, however this is just a myth to attract tourism in the area.

The most common types of water in the area tend to be overshadowed by the presence of the Black Sea, however lagoons and limans are still a very typical sight of western Dobrogea. The genesis of the lakes is natural, but some anthropic changes occurred in the past centuries for a better function of the territory (canals, dams, bridges, roads and so on) action that speeded up the urbanization process. Natural rivers in the are are rare to be found because of the lack of high geomorphological units nearby (the closest geomorphological unit to a mountain range being in northern part of Dobrogea), however there are plenty of canals including the Danube-Black Sea Canal built to shorten the trade route on the Daube River by 400 km. Wet lands can be found in the proximity of the limans and the shore and serve as a habitat for the local species, however most of them started to be replaces with parking lots, buildings or landfills (Palazu Mare). In Tăbăcărie Lake, a part of the wastewater of the city of Constanța is discharged, which obviously led to mass losses of the natural biotope in the area as many birds species don't stop by the lake anymore on their migratory route.

The Ovidiu Island © Radu Niculescu.

Despite the fact that most of the water supplies in the Romanian lakes come directly from rainfalls or rivers, the main input of the western Dobrogean lakes are the groundwaters which allows the water level to be stable all year round, even if they're no longer connected to the Black Sea. The bedrock of Siutghiol is mainly formed from karst which allows an optimal interaction with the groundwaters. There are no tributaries as most of the rivers in this region drain directly in the Black Sea or the Danube. The lack of annual precipitations (around 400 mm) aren't enough to supply the Siutghiol Lake with freshwater at a constant rate, so other sources are needed.

The floodplain area is extended in the southern part of the Constanța Municipality, but when it comes to the Siutghiol Lake, the Mamaia Sandspit is the most vulnerable area to floods alongside the northern shore of the lake, where the slopes are low to non-existing. However, because of recent rehabilitation efforts (dams construction, tetrapods, etc.) the flood chances are very low as long as the ocean level remains stable. The Siutghiol’s catchment areas is estimated to cover an area of 71.6 km².

Due to the different water flow input in the local lakes and the anthropic needs that arose in the use of these lakes after 1950, several connecting canals were built between these lakes. Thus, through these canals, water transfers take place from Siutghiol Lake to Tăbăcăriei and from it to the sea, and also from Siutghiol through a pipeline to Tașaul. Subsequently, due to the increase in water consumption in Siutghiol and the regulation of leaks between Tașăul and Gargalâc and discharges into the sea (for Lake Gargalâc) this pipeline was closed in 1967. Level variations and climatic characteristics are very well reflected in the hydrological balance of Lake Siutghiol as over the years, the average lake level fluctuated from 115 cm to 225 cm and even more during the flood event.

Because of the relatively low elevation level, especially in northern part of Dobrogea, floods have been common for most of the time. However, as the time passed by and humanity developed engineering systems to stop the flooding phenomena to occur, the incidents slowed down or stopped. The lack of precipitations in the area also comes close by regarding this matter. For preventing future possible floods and the erosion caused by the waves action and by marine currents, the local administration has placed tetrapods near the shore in the proximity of human settlements. Despite all of this, because of the heavy rainfalls that sometimes occur in the region during the summertime, back in 2004 the people living nearby the coast have experienced floods for one day (28 August) and no other significant flood has been reported ever since. The only regions exposed to this matter are far from human settlements (at least in the southern Dobrogea). The plateau's geomorphological features prevent the city from experiencing such unfortunate events. However, the study area is more vulnerable to this due to recent climate changes and rise of the world oceans level which will affect the Black Sea as well, despite being a relatively guarded sea. The bay barrier of Mamaia is flat and doesn't even reach 2 meters height so it is very likely that in the future it might get back underwater if no action is taken.

Water as a living space

Perca flavescens © Izotov Ion-Daniel.

By implementing the Natura 2000 network in Romania, Siutghiol Lake became a protected area- code ROSPA0057.

The Ministry of Environment is responsible for the management of this site, through the National Agency for Protected Areas. Currently, there is no managament plan for the lake but even if it is not mandatory to have one, its absence contributes to some serious management and conservation problems.

The Romanian Ornithological Society assigned the lake as an IBA according to the following criteria ellaborated by BirdLife International: C1, C2, C4. During the migration season, the lake hosts more than 20.000 aquatic birds, thing that makes it a possible candidate for RAMSAR. Siutghiol Lake houses important categories of protected species: 32 species mentioned in The Birds Directive-Annex 1, 43 migrating species listed in the annexes of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and 4 globally endangered species.

Habitats: N06- continental freshwaters, N07-wetlands N23-artificial land

Siutghiol Lake is a lagoon with a particular economic (industry and agriculture), therapeutic and touristic importance. Because of the intense anthropic activity through tourism, water sports, fishing, road traffic and inhabited areas (Mamaia Resort, Constanta, Ovidiu) there is a great negative impact on the lake`s flora and fauna.

The greatest danger the lake faces is the pollution. Some ways of polluting are the artificial water intake from the Poarta Alba-Midia Navodari canal, the artificial water intake through the sewerage network (wastewater treatment plants, pumping stations and water channels) and artificial water leaks that enter the lake through tributary valleys. Some other causes of the biologicaly distress of the lake is the growing human population and urban development, abusive fishing, intensive road traffic, hunting and touristic activities. Because of these reasons, the terrestrial bird species that used to live near the lake and are protected by the Natura 2000 network do not have favorable habitats anymore.

Fish movement from Siutghiol Lake to Tabacarie Lake and back is not restricted by anthropic elements. The life of fish is still affected by water pollution and street lights which influences their behaviour.

Electrometric measurements and underwater research in the area showed the existence of some strong water sources under the lake. The lake is supplied with fresh water by 3 underground springs with a great flow which keep the water of the lake clear. The water quality of the lake fits in the legal limits approved. The absence of these springs would prove how polluted the lake is by people.

Blue and Green Infrastructure

In order to be able to understand the term BGI (Blue and Green Infrastructure ) within the study area, we must take into account the current network of the green infrastructure of Constanta and Mamaia resort. The elements that have a major potential in a green-blue infrastructure are green, eco-friendly landscapes such as green areas, especially parks with favorable vegetation for the climatic conditions and technologies whose main purpose is to reduce the consumption of industrially produced, obsolete and polluting energy. These green areas are buffer areas, which ensure the integrity of natural habitats. At the moment, from ours point of view , the chaotic extension of the built space and the destruction of the natural areas are driving the blue green infrastructure in a critical point. And this is all because there is no specialized management to deal with this problems, or with the implementation of new projects which could target reconversion solutions for current buildings and functional spaces.

Water as a cultural space

Land use and water

It's safe to say that the study area covers a wide variety of land and water use. Around the lake, the urban areas take the most part of the land and serve as either a residential purpose (Ovidiu, Palazu Mare, Constanța) or an entertainment one (on the eastern shore - Mamaia). There are some very small green urban areas which count the most to the total green region. The industrial or commercial units sit in Siutghiol's proximity as well and as mentioned before, some of their waste is disposed in the lake with little to none consequences. As for the natural side, there are a few inland marshes which don't cover a big part, a little area dedicated for pastures, the Danube-Black Sea Canal in the north and a transitional woodland-shrub area. Right before the northern entrance to the Constanța Municipality, there is a mineral extraction site which is still exploited to this day. The rest of the area is covered by the agriculture branch which extents to the nearby cities and it's a common sight in Dobrogea. The road network is not as developed as you would expect, but it is definitely present as the A2 Highway (also known as The Highway of the Sun) crosses the west side of the lake.

The forest zones are far gone as you can barely find any trees within the study area (there are a few between Ovidiu and Palazu Mare or in the green urban areas) and not because of the climate type or soil compositions, but because of high deforestation actions in the past decades. Some industrial units don't work anymore and there is a changing tendency to commercial units instead. The wild beaches that once were on the sandspit were replaced by the touristic resorts which is constantly expanding. The land and water use will definitely change in the near future as the urban areas extend in a worrying manner and the agriculture is slowly fading away. Authorities will most likely use every inch of the coastline if no action is being taken anytime soon. Despite its natural genesis, the Siutghiol Lake has definitely met high anthropic interventions as the time passed by and you can see its older days remains only in a few places now.

Cultural and spatial typologies of water areas

Buildings Around the Siutghiol Lake © Istrate Ștefania

With the formation of the Mamaia estuary, due to the closure of the Black Sea bay, along it, on one side and on the other, numerous constructions appeared. On the side with Lake Siutghiol, a series of hotel and restaurant units were built, as well as recreational areas. From the perspective of the natural environment, Siutghiol evolved at the same time as Lake Tăbăcăriei, contributing to its supply of water, through the canal that connects them. The presence of the lake favored the development of the tourist infrastructure, due to the landscape it offers, but it also influenced the urban configuration of the city, by building residential centers and by developing the street plot. Regarding the cultural part of the region, it is found only in the campus area, through the presence of Ovidius University, and in the area of Mamaia Resort, on the lake side, these characteristics are missing, but are offset by those on the sea side, where there is a casino.

In general, water areas create attractive points at the level of a city, as they are the main agreement area for citizens. As an example for the city of Constanța, we are talking about Lake Siutghiol and Lake Tăbăcăriei. If we look at the water area as an essential resource for development, Lake Siutghiol has been an important area since the distant past, on the shores of which various buildings have been erected, both residential, commercial, recreational, cultural and sports areas. Lake Siutghiol plays an important role in the urban development of the city, as it offers the possibility to carry out activities for leisure and relaxation, such as fishing, walks around the lakes and boat trips. The increasing accentuation with built spaces, of the area between Siutghiol Lake and Mamaia Boulevard creates the idea that the place is not for people, because the investors who did not take into account the demographic side of a city.

Sacred spaces and heritage

The Black Sea coast has been occupied by many civilizations over the time (Greeks, Romans, Ottomans and so on) so there is no surprise that they left a generous cultural heritage behind them. There is no well preserved archaeological site around the Siutghiol Lake, however you can still find some Paleolithic settlements in Mamaia Sat and Ovidiu that are set to be exposed soon by the archaeologists. You can also find a Roman-Byzantine fortifications on the western side of the lake, on a small promontory of the Ovidiu city and another one in Palazu Mare. There are no sites on the Mamaia sand-belt discovered most likely because it is a relatively new geomorphological formation and there was no point in building settlements on vulnerable and exposed land.

The irrational tourism, lack of investments into national cultural heritage preservation and misguided excavation actions by unqualified staff lead to the sites being forgotten in the local touristic routes and little to no attention is given to them. Because the cultural heritage is unable to recover once damaged, any rehabilitation action done by the archaeologists is highly restricted. The archaeo-tourism (tourists who practice thematic cultural routes) is often overshadowed in Dobrogea by the other local sights such as the Danube Delta and Măcin Mountains in the north, or the resorts in the south. However, despite not living on the high profile, it emerges only when it's needed to and if the right effort is put into it, then it can serve as a great economic resource to the community.

Visual appearance and landscape narrative

Miron Costin claims the existence of a lake in the counties near the Dniester river, called either Owidowo, Vidovul, Ovidiului Lake, Lagoul Ovidouloui, Vidovo Lacus, Ovidovo Lacus or Vidovo Lake in different cartographical documents from various centuries. Many chroniclers, writers and poets have been writing about the Siutghiol Lake since the 16 th century. The lake was often mentioned in historic documents as well as travel guides and poems. Those who wrote about the lake often associated it with the name of the roman poet, Pūblius Ovidius Nāsō because, as the legend says, he was exiled by Emperor Augustus in 8 AD on a small island (Ovidiu island) located in Siutghiol Lake.

  • 17th century: Miron Costin, The Polish Chronicle - claims the existence of a lake in the counties near the Dniester river, called either Owidowo, Vidovul, Ovidiului Lake, Lagoul Ovidouloui, Vidovo Lacus, Ovidovo Lacus or Vidovo Lake in different cartographical documents from various centuries;

Local legend: Once upon a time, where you can find Siutghiol Lake nowadays, there was a village full of bad people. Strangers were not welcomed there. On a festive day, when the villagers were celebrating in their homes, a man sneaked into the village. He asked many people to be let to stay overnight but without success. Seeing that no one is welcoming him, he decided to head to the edge of the village. He found there a small house made of stone where an old woman lived. She, unlike her neighbors, was kind and let the stranger stay as long as he wished to. The old woman was worried as she did not have anything to feast the man with. The traveler told her to put some manure in the furnace and so she did. The woman was astonished when she opened the furnace door as she found there an enormous bread that would become whole again after each bite. The next day, as the traveler left, water came out of nowhere and the village sunk. Everything was gone. Only the stone house remained and a crystal-clear lake formed.

The water is the central focus of this area along with the flora and fauna that depends on it on a long term, like the local plants and animals do, as well as on short-term, like the migratory birds that nest in this area.

Water and People

Accessibility and usability

The main access routes to reach the Siutghiol Lake by car are the Ovidius University campus in the south, , the whole Mamaia and Aurel Vlaicu Boulevard – not to mention the open space sand barrier where the Mamaia Resort lies - plus secondary thoroughfares such as Ovidius University, Jade and Border Alley, as well as other unmarked roads or natural ones. As mentioned before, the Siutghol Lake is accessible in certain areas such as the Mamaia Resort, or - on the southern shoreline - by Aqua Magic, part of the area near the Ovidius University. But the accessibility can also refer to areas where the lake can be admired in all of its glory, with or without the built infrastructure to serve the tourists such as hotels or restaurants. In terms of spatial obstacles, the constructions in general prevent the development of other activities along the lake shore - a matter easily noticed on the eastern coast where the buildings density is higher than it should be. Also, the lake has certain areas in Mamaia where it is not organized at all and presents possible dangers to the local biodiversity because of the household wastes.

The area of the Siutghiol Lake is mainly used by the local investors, who want to extend the resort as much as possible, in order to exploit the area economically. Of course, tourists are a common typology to be seen around the lake. Lately, this area has been used intensively for the development of mass tourism, by building hotels, restaurants, parks and other touristic sights. Another purpose for which this area is used is for leisure, boat trips, water sports, and in addition to these, fishing also takes place, an activity practiced by both amateurs and professionals. The area of Lake Siutghiol, belonging to the resort of Mamaia is used to own the JT Watersports water park, and it’s open only during summertime, next to being located the only floating restaurant in Mamaia, which is under construction. On the Ovidiu Island not many things are going on, there is a little restaurant and a wharf for the tourists.

Community Mapping

As for the zone typologies, the main features are the touristic one and the residency one. The areas are pretty easy to point out on the map as the Mamaia resort is strictly destinated to tourism, the surrounding urban areas are mostly covered by residency places and the other zones count for education institutes (Ovidius University, high school and so on), commercial units (malls, shops) or industrial units. The community mapping shares distinct places for different groups of people. As seen in the map below, the eastern shore of the lake is mainly for youth and adults with some acvatic-themed parks for kids, the southern shore is destinated to students and the wastern shore is filled with residency buildings and small areas for fishing, industry or leisure units for adults and kids. Elders have no distinct area as they can be found all over the place, with a higher density in the west.

The community, which involves all the citizens, like kids, teens, adults, elders, including people with disabilities, is a tight-knit group, with strong relationships if we compare it to the one between the community and the local leadership. It is not always the case but in this country it is normal to see stronger relationships between the corrupted leadership and business men who do not care about anything else other than their interests than seeing healthy relationships between the community and other local and external stakeholders. The majority of the environment related problems would be solved faster and easier if people would have been united and would have had stronger relationships.
The main concern for the population is not having their basic requierments satisfied, which refers to, among other needs, water, clean water being essential for the health and well-being of the community. Clean water is something that can be provided by the leadership and it does not refer only to crystal blue waters but also to a healthy ecosystem which includes the area of land surrounding the water body-Siutghiol Lake in this case.

If we look at the evolution of the northern area of Mamaia, we will easily notice that urban expansion is becoming more and more widespread, the last years being marked by the most successful recorded by all the real estate developers of the holiday resort. However, it is important to note that, like many other cases, urban development plans often run counter to the regulation drawn up by legislation to protect the environment. Anthropogenic aggression exerts a negative influence on Lake Siutghiol, on its eastern and northeastern shores can be found buildings of ten and even fifteen floors, which do not comply with the height regime suitable for proximity to the lake system and, last but not least, the beach. Although the regulation in force provides for compliance with a certain height regime in this area, which, as a rule, must not exceed five floors in the immediate vicinity of the lake, the newly erected buildings far exceed those regulations. The land was largely illegally returned, when the administration from 2002 to 2016 was ceding the land very easily, and the legality of these actions is being challenged to this day. This significantly affects the lake ecosystem, creating harmful artificial shade for the fauna and fauna, but also generating additional pollution through the properly unremixed construction sites, with a lot of waste ending up in the water. At the same time, the collective of architects of the city of Constanta argue that, in a region whose soil consists mainly of sedimentary rocks, such as the entire coastal region of Dobrogea, the height of buildings should not exceed a maximum of six floors, this criterion being intended to ensure the safety and durability of buildings in the event of a major earthquake. On the other hand, real estate developers are trying to find "free loopholes", going strictly on their own interest based, in turn, on economic criteria. The tourist potential of the area is huge, with Lake Siutghiol providing access to water on the western side of the resort, providing an ideal place for water sports. In other words, the seaside grind that separated the sea from the lake offers a whole range of tourist opportunities, and the geographically limited space forces developers to narrow down, choosing the land in the vicinity of the lake to erect residential spaces that are offered for closing during the summer season. It would certainly be best for legal regulations to be reviewed, intelligently and sustainably designed, without leaving room for interpretation, because the environment is the support of life and, fairly and sustainably, can also meet the needs of real estate developers, who could focus on green tourism rather than uncontrolled urban expansion.

Possible Futures

Risks Map © Izotov Ion-Daniel

For the risks map, we took into consideration five main problems that occur within our study area. The most negative part found here is the overpopulated shore of the lake on the eastern side where the Mamaia Resort is located, full of high buildings which are full with tourists during summertime. In the southern part there is the Constanta Municipality which also impacts the lake's ecosystem because of the huge amount of cars crossing the lake every day. All this high population density leads to another problem in the area which is the household waste found at nearly every corner. A few volunteering institutes (one of them being the Ovidius University itself) have cleaned some of the areas, however the garbage always gathers overtime because of the lack of education.
The industrial areas around the lake are also a top contributor for the pollution as there is little to none governmental action to ban the waste disposal from the factories in the water. Some other risky factors might include things like the possible landslides that might occur because of the common cliff structures and the areas exposed to floods which, so far, are not put in danger, however considering the climate change and the rise of the ocean level, this might be a problem that the locals might will face sooner than anticipated.

As for the future potential map, we took into consideration the implementation of green roofs on the Mamaia sand-belt since the buildings density is already high, a biomass power plant in the north which basically burns waste and makes eco-energy in the process, a lock also in the north for possible floods and a photovoltaic park between Ovidiu and Constanța which would supply both locations with solar energy for as much as it can provide, especially during summertime when the tourism is at its peak.

This diagram refers to the forces (driving forces) which manifest a pressure above the living state of an natural system. This pressure result in an impact which is mostly bad and his main result is to destroy the natural resilience. The main driving forces which take place in this area are the political environment with his legislation, the process of energy consumption, the tourism, farming and the industry. This forces shapes the areal and forces it at some great pressure. The pressure domain , as you can see in the graph is formed by the uncontrolled expansion of the built space, poaching, lack of green infrastructure and the exhaustion of the natural resources. These are a few examples, the most relevant and the most visible things you can discover with your own eyes in the surroundings of the Siutghiol Lake and in the city of Constanta.

Regarding the state of the lake, first of all, Siutghiol is included in the category of Natura 2000 protected sites, being a lagoon, whose water is fresh. It has an alkaline pH, between 8 and 9, and in terms of phosphorus content, which has a tendency to increase, the lake tends to become eutrophic. It is known to have 31 species of protected birds , both nesting and migratory.

Anthropic activities always have an impact on nature and biodiversity because people change the place where they live as they please. The most important impacts resulting from the pressures are pollution, caused by the uncontrolled expansion of buildings and the lack of green infrastructure. Reduced biodiversity, the growing number of buildings has negative effects on the life of the species, but poaching is a determining factor, their amount of light is reduced and their habitats are destroyed. Increasing resource consumption is an important impact, as it reduces the natural environment and habitats of the species present. However, the big problem is exceeding the support capacity of the environment and decreasing the optimal standard of living, which influences both the environment and the population.

In terms of solutions, surveillance of the area with cameras and drones can solve the problem of poaching, reconversion programs of existing buildings in some that include green infrastructure, such as green roofs, can reduce the lack of clean infrastructure, but also reduce pollution in a small measure. Green City - is a positive scenario for the lake`s neighborhood, which involves the use of solar panels, forest cords, green roofs and wind farms around the lake. It`s a good idea to develop the shores of the water in an eco style.

Urbanization - this is a negative scenario, which involves a high urbanization, in particular on the east shore, in Mamaia and Năvodari. This constructions, extended irrational, will lead to a huge anthropogenic pressure on the fauna and flora.

Invasive species - this has also a negative impact on the faunal and floral balance, and in this case, our water landscape will have big problems with the support of life.

Drought-the lake dries up - If this happens, all species who live here, both in waters of the lake and on its shores will disappear. That can be the end of our water landscape and, after all, the desertification process will reach high levels in this area.

Floods - a natural hazard, which happens time to time in all over the world, in some particular conditions. This scenario will lead to water pollution and also will cause serious damage to agriculture and settlements near the lake.

Nuclear explosion - which is probably the worse case scenario for the entire region, including our lake. We all know what happened to Chernobyl, in 1986, where hundreds of humans and also animals died after the exposure to the radiation, and this process can continue many years after the explosion moment.

Collaborative Goal Setting

  • Define strategic planning objectives based on the evaluation findings from your analysis
  • Ideally, involve the community of your living labs into this process
  • Link back to your original targets from section one and the Development Goals
  • 150 words text contribution

In this sense, the local community has too many needs, related to their decision-making power. Our proposals include the expansion of green spaces, green roofs, and urban gardens with the support of the local council that could reduce sanitation, inert waste, building and land taxes. In addition to this aspect, in our area we can propose programs for the production of electricity through photovoltaic panels. These can be concretized in the field through extensive production fields, or they can also be placed on the roofs or on the facades of buildings, in order to reduce the energy dependence from the state network. From an urban point of view, a local regulation of urban architecture and aesthetics should be elaborated (after the model of the one from Baia Mare), which should limit the architectural, aesthetic and chromatic models of the building facades, in order to strengthen the unity image.

As I said before, the community plays a tiny role here and that is why it must start moving in this direction alone. A short list of what they should do is: access funds for green technologies, limit the use of electricity, to undertake sanitation actions of the lake shores and of the annexed space of the buildings. The implementation of these solutions, which concern the arrangement of green roofs and solar panels, reduce the impact of expanding the built space. These projects can be done with the help of the local community. This projects come with advantages for those who choose to adapt to them, because they could benefit them in the future especially from the energy production and the goods resulting from farming on the roofs. If we look at these projects in the next 5 years, I believe that a large part of the inhabitants of this area will use these services. On the other hand, we can propose to the local authorities to create a law, which compel the real estate developers to adapt this projects.

Zero hunger Through urban gardens, the needy local population can benefit from a supply of food produced naturally.

Clean water and sanitation Mobilization of the population, through NGOs programs which aims actions of cleaning the shores and the lake water.

Affordable and clean energy All the eco friendly projects mentioned (urban gardens, solar panels and so on) need to be funded to some extend by the local authorities or the government.

Sustainable cities and communities As I said before, solutions can be represented by the green roofs, photovoltaic panels and urban gardens.

Partnership for the goals To carry out these projects we will use European non-reimbursable funds and we will involve local authorities, but we will also seek support from local developers. We can create an apolitical organization, to manage this investments programs.

Spatial Strategy and Transect

Transect Projects

Firstly, we had the idea to choose a transect which covers the whole Mamaia sand belt, but because of the lack of inclusivity and the monotone landscape, we picked out instead the southern part since the infrastructure is more diverse. The whole transect is 3.75 km long and we chose the lake shore counting both sides of the imaginary line. The higest density of hotels and restaurants are found withing the Mamaia Resort. On our transect, we counted over 25 hotels or motels and around 30 restaurants. As for the projects, regarding the hotels, we took into consideration the implementation of green roofs. This means that atop of most or every hotel within the area , the owners must set up the roofs with small gardens in which to plant various vegetables or herbs. First of all, this can serve as an activity for accommodated tourists, and the grown products can be used either in the kitchens of restaurants from the ground floor, or donated to charities and people in need. The implementation of these projects can attract new masses of tourists due to innovation and the eco friendly statute.

If hotels accept these offers, they may be exempt from some environmental taxes or fees. Another idea that can be implemented for guest houses or other touristic houses, would be the solar panels that provide eco energy for the building on which they are arranged. Although these projects are set up to be environmentally friendly and to offer various activities to tourists, they can also provide new jobs for local people because we have no guarantee that tourists or hotel staff will take care of urban gardens, so the person with or without qualification in the field can be hired for their (the gardens) maintenance.

Regarding restaurants, a good idea for ventilating the crowded area on the coast would be to move their locations to pontoons specially designed for them. Thus, the former onshore restaurants can serve as multi-storey car parks, or indoor pools, souvenir shops or whatever else is needed. If the former restaurants aren`t needed anymore, the places can serve as green spaces (parks, botanical gardens, etc.).

University Park © Istrate Elena

On our way through the transect, not so many shops were found, but they were balanced by the high density of restaurants around. There were no relevant institutions found, instead there were some cultural vestiges such as a church, a chapel and a casino that served as a train station in the past („Gara Mamaia”). Related to this, the only projects that could make the cut would be just simple renovations or modernizations.

In terms of leisure units, there are some swimming pools, gyms, a gondola and 2 tennis clubs accompanied by the presence of 2 other water-themed parks (JT Water Sports and Aqua Magic Mamaia). As mentioned before, arranging swimming pools near the lake is important for the safety of children. It is also possible to set up hidrobycicles stations that are intended for both locals and tourists. Surprisingly, although the area has a tourist specificity, there are also many educational centers such as Ovidius University itself, near which you can arrange a scientific center to review different environmental aspects of the area such as the water quality assessment, transects of the surrounding habitats and other studies. Also, for the electricity supply of the educational centers, solar panels can be installed on their roofs just like the hotels that we mentioned.

There are no clearly delimited neighborhoods for residents, and most of them are blocks of flats. Parallel to the hotels, the same projects (suspended urban gardens or solar panels) can be implemented depending on the option that residents want. It is worth mentioning that for solar panels there are government projects that offer subsidies for those who are interested in it.

Along the transect there are numerous parking lots and various units that serve the vehicles (gas station, PTI). One of the mentioned examples is the OMV gas station itself, which contributes to the both air and noise pollution in the area because of its proximity to the lake and the residential area and its 24/7 function. One way to stop this would be to plant a hedge to cleanse the air and to thermally insulate the surrounding blocks with extra-budgetary funds. Most hotels also possess parking lots, which further suffocates the area. An effective idea would be to replace them with green spaces, swimming pools, etc. and building the bunk parking lots that take up less space in 2-3 strategic points. The reason why underground car parks cannot be built is due to the unsafe level of the groundwater. Above the parking lots, solar panels can be arranged on the rooftop to serve the entire parking lot with electricity.

The green areas are little to none so the authorities already started to make new parks around the Ovidius University. Our goal was to build more parks around the hotels on the former parking lots. The transport network is also in line with the urban agglomeration, so along the transect. there are many bus stations. At the starting point, on the shore of the lake there is a jetty that serves for transport on the lake. This is a good place for a potential hidrobycicles station. The construction of a 10 meters wide pedestrian bridge over the Siutgiol Lake (at its narrowest point) that connects the Mamaia resort with Palazu Mare can also release the crowded shore of lake.

From Theory of Change to Implementation

Posible futures. what we should and what we should not do © Mocanu Doru-Alexandru

In order to implement the proposed solutions, we can use a whole range of state institutions, which are particularly important institutions to comply with the legislation in force. They are both locally and nationally, starting with the municipality of Constanta, which is responsible for issuing all approvals that allow the construction of new residential areas in Mamaia Nord and Năvodari. We recommend that, in future, the issue of these approvals should be given only after consulting and specialists, such as architects and environmental specialists, to ensure that legal criteria, which are still contested by the current administration, are followed. Next, we can also appeal to the town hall in Constanța, Năvodari or Ovidiu, for the arrangement and protection of green spaces, which are extremely necessary in our city, because the municipality of Constanta has an area of only 4 m2 green spaces per resident, when in fact the ideal area would be 10 m2/resident. Therefore, vegetation, both important for securing recreation space and in terms of improving air quality, has been ignored, as residential areas and the expansion of built-up areas have taken the important step. Waste collection facilities are not organized at the highest level either, with many toxic materials reaching the soil and the waters of Lake Siutghiol. To prevent these situations, the city could set up environmentally friendly landfills, even using the Fukoka method, which helps to break down garbage and use the gases that result from this process. Another institution that might be involved is Romanian Waters, which can ensure monitoring of overfishing, monitoring of water quality so that discharges, especially during the summer period, do not contaminate the ecosystem. Also, even flood prevention is possible through efficient bank management.

Next, the Environmental Guard and the Ministry of the Environment are institutions that can get involved at the national level, controlling issues such as industrial pollution that can come from the Petromidia Combination, while also monitoring the quality of groundwater, imposing restrictions in the event of anthropogenic aggression, carrying out prevention and control actions to avoid the destruction of natural habitats in protected areas. To all this, we can also add the intervention of agreements at European or even global level, such as those of Green Deal, which encourage green roofs, the development of localities in the green city system, using wind green energy or from solar panels. Agriculture, in turn, can be practiced organically. By doing so, land bordering the lake would be less contaminated with pesticides, and groundwater would no longer carry such a large amount of nitrogen into the lake, which can lead to the eutrophication of the ecosystem. For developing the shores in an eco style, we need solar panels, forest cords, green roofs, and wind farms on the nearby lands. By developing them sustainably, human settlements are going to have a longer life.


Process Reflection

  • Reflect in your intercultural and interdisciplinary team on the outcomes of your study
  • Which limitations were you facing?
  • What have you learnt from each other?
  • What did you learn in the Living Labs?
  • What would you do differently next time?
  • You can also use diagrams/visuals
  • 250 words text
  • The main limitation we faced during the development of this project is related to the physical meeting, on the ground, because, on the one hand we live in different localities and access to the region where the lake is located is not so easy, and on the other hand, the current global situation related to the COVID 19 epidemic has limited our physical encounters. But, nevertheless, we collaborated very well. In this project we learned various things from each other, first of all we learned to understand each other, to understand our opinions, which were sometimes quite different, we learned to work better in a team, a pretty team diverse. We also learned new things from each other, being part of different specializations. At Living Labs we learned how to look at certain environmental situations that may have seemed unresolved or impossible to solve before, now we know how to better address issues in a particular area and how to apply certain projects that are beneficial to the environment but also to our advantage, of the citizens. In addition, I learned a lot more about Lake Siutghiol, how it formed, the habitats encountered, the possibilities of accessibility and much more. Next time, clearly, when we encounter such a situation, maybe even in reality, we will know how to apply certain methods and strategies to achieve our goals. - Istrate Elena