Lacul Tei WAVE Living Lab 2021

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Area Tei Lake
Place Bucharest
Country Romania
Topics WAVE Project
Author(s) BOBE Ana-Cristina/ LUNGU Alexandra Beti/ MITRESCU Sergiu/ RISTEA Diana-Ioana/ STROBLEA Ștefania
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  • Why do you think this case is relevant? What is your hypothesis considering the landscape challenges?
  • This case relevant because Tei Lake is located in one of the greenest neighbourhoods in Bucharest, with strong local identity and lots of real estate interest for new residential homes. Considering that the studied area has poor infrastructure, reduced accesibility for pedestrians and bikes, high levels of water pollution and the shoreline’s landscape being fragmented, we are exploring long-term strategic planning ideas focusing on sustainability.'

Location and scope

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Water as a natural system

Geomorphology, typologies and dynamics of water areas

  • Describe the water areas of your area in the contxt of the wider water system

The Tei Lake is located in Bucharest, in the northern part of Sector 2, at the intersection of the parallel 44 ° 28'16 "north latitude and the meridian 26 ° 07'10" east longitude. The Tei Lake is part of the chain of 18 anthropic lakes that have been made along the Colentina valley, between Bufeta and Cernica, for various purposes such as: hydropower production, water supply, flow regulation, tourism, leisure, etc.

The Colentina River is a stream that springs in the Șontânga-Doicești area, near the town of Târgoviște, in Dâmbovița County, and runs a route of 101 km south to the town of Cernica, where it flows into the Dâmbovița River. In the local context of Bucharest, the Colentina River has the largest surface area of water: approx. 1300 ha and it is the main hydrographic axis that crosses the city, having a length of 37,4 km. Regarding the anthropic lake system, it includes 15 lakes, 10 of which are located on the administrative territory of Bucharest, starting at an altitude of 131 m and ending at 54.1 m. From upstream to downstream it is chained in the following lakes:

• Buftea Lake (307 ha);

• Mogoșoaia Lake (66 ha);

• Chitila Lake (75 ha);

• Străulești Lake (39 ha);

• Grivița Lake (80 ha);

• Băneasa Lake (40 ha) - a geothermal water treatment base operates on its shore;

• Herastrau Lake (77 ha);

• Floreasca Lake (70 ha);

Tei Lake (80 ha) - here there is a student sports complex;

• Plumbuita Lake (55 ha);

• Colentina Lake (29 ha);

• Fundeni Lake (123 ha);

• Dobroești Lake (120 ha) – it is also called Lake Pantelimon I;

• Pantelimon Lake (260 ha) - it is also called Lake Pantelimon II, and on its shore is the hotel complex " Lebăda";

• Cernica Lake (360 ha);

The construction of anthropic lakes began in 1933, and took place in 2 stages: the first stage between 1933 and 1940 when 7 of the 15 lakes were built, including: Buftea Lake, Herastrau Lake, Floreasca Lake and Baneasa Lake, and the second stage from 1968 to 1970, in which the following 8 lakes were built, including the Tei Lake.

  • How does water appear in the landscape of your living lab? What types of water areas are common?

There are two types of major water areas in our living lab: rivers and artificial lakes or reservoirs/water storages, which are constructed on those rivers or artificially introduced in parks. Besides the two natural rivers that cross the city: Dâmbovița and Colentina (which have also underwent anthropic interventions and are characterized by an anthropical landscape), all the water areas are artificially made by man, most of them being artificial lakes with storage or anthropic excavations in the most important parks.

The most important river in our living lab is Colentina River, a natural river which is situated in the north part of the city and has a system of 18 artificial lakes built on it, each of them in an important recreation area. Part of this system is Lacul Tei, a water storage area separated by dams from the Floreasca and Plumbuita Lakes, both water storages as well. Also, in the Colentina valley you can find Titan Lake, which is a one of the 3 lakes built in an anthropic excavation.

  • Please identify the water bodies' catchment areas, tributaries and floodplains.

Tei Lake is situated along Colentina River and is preceded by Floreasca Lake and followed by Plumbuita Lake. The Colentina River has as tributaries the Rivers: Baranga, Crevedia, Valea Saulei. The entirety of the lake is 80 hectares and its catchments and floodplains are in its northern and north-western part of the lake due to the slope of the terrain.

  • Which dynamics do these water areas have?

The water areas in and around Bucharest are characterized by a perpetual dynamic of change, a pattern which is easily identifiable through a historic comparison. When looking at an earlier map, such as the one drawn up by Colonel Specht in 1790, the first thing which catches the eye are the thoroughly formed banks. The plan commissioned by the Romanian military authorities at the dawn of the 20th century confirm this state of fact, the interwar period marking the beginning of an ambitions process of reigning in the natural dynamics of these water areas. Works began in 1933, aimed at creating 18 anthropic lakes out of the Colentina river, beginning from the North-Western end of the river. In 1937 the projects finally edged towards the South-Eastern area of the waterway, focused on mending the Colentina riverbed, giving birth to what nowadays are known as the Tei, Fundeni, Dobroești and Pantelimon lakes. The project is partly finished in 1938, being picked up again by the communist authorities. A 1976 soviet map highlights the emergence of a channel between the Tei and Fundeni lakes. In the 1980s, alongside many other mammoth construction projects, the dictatorial regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu commissions complex hydrotechnical operations with the purpose of further anthropization of the river through works on the riverbed. The bold water infrastructure planning was never followed through due to the demise of the regime, the post-communist period witnessing a slow but certain degradation of the lakes. Nowadays, the Tei lake can be considered to be one of the luckier ones, its strands hosting a wide plethora of leisure facilities. The Western, Southern and Northern sides of it are flanked by outdoor sport facilities, a park containing a small amusement park within as well as a sizeable outdoor swimming pool. Due to its immediate vicinity to the business district located up North, as well as a premium residential complex and high-end leisure locations situated on its Eastern shore, there are solid premises for an increase of interest in and around the lake. The water areas in and around Bucharest are characterized by a perpetual dynamic of change, a pattern which is easily identifiable through a historic comparison. When looking at an earlier map, such as the one drawn up by Colonel Specht in 1790, the first thing which catches the eye are the thoroughly formed banks. The plan commissioned by the Romanian military authorities at the dawn of the 20th century confirm this state of fact, the interwar period marking the beginning of an ambitions process of reigning in the natural dynamics of these water areas. Works began in 1933, aimed at creating 18 anthropic lakes out of the Colentina river, beginning from the North-Western end of the river. In 1937 the projects finally edged towards the South-Eastern area of the waterway, focused on mending the Colentina riverbed, giving birth to what nowadays are known as the Tei, Fundeni, Dobroești and Pantelimon lakes. The project is partly finished in 1938, being picked up again by the communist authorities. A 1976 soviet map highlights the emergence of a channel between the Tei and Fundeni lakes. In the 1980s, alongside many other mammoth construction projects, the dictatorial regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu commissions complex hydrotechnical operations with the purpose of further anthropization of the river through works on the riverbed. The bold water infrastructure planning was never followed through due to the demise of the regime, the post-communist period witnessing a slow but certain degradation of the lakes. Nowadays, the Tei lake can be considered to be one of the luckier ones, its strands hosting a wide plethora of leisure facilities. The Western, Southern and Northern sides of it are flanked by outdoor sport facilities, a park containing a small amusement park within as well as a sizeable outdoor swimming pool. Due to its immediate vicinity to the business district located up North, as well as a premium residential complex and high-end leisure locations situated on its Eastern shore, there are solid premises for an increase of interest in and around the lake.

  • Have there been any flood events in the past?

Many Eastern European cities that are prone to floods are in close proximity to industrial areas, mining operations, or are host to brownfield sites. As a result, people and settlements in the region run a significant risk to be exposed to contaminated and toxic waters.Romania is known as one of the most flood-prone countries in Europe. Bucharest is located in the southeastern part of the country, within the Argeş River watershed, in a region belonging to the Romanian Plain, where drainage density is high and elevations are of 60–90 m. Its territory is crossed on a northwest–southeast direction by the Dâmboviţa and Colentina rivers, which have large floodplains and terraces where the city has found good conditions for its sprawl. However, because of this location in a floodplain area, Bucharest has high flood risk susceptibility. Consequently, in order to avoid such events, since the 18th century, the authorities have imposed a number of protection measures and have developed engineering techniques. It is rare to see a year without serious flooding in Romania.Since the 2002 floods, Romania was the most affected by the 2005 floods as it was faced with the most powerful and widespread floods and also the highest. The 2010 Romanian floods were the result of an extreme weather event that struck Romania in late June 2010, 21 people died. Deadly flash floods hit Romania after the worst drought in 100 years and heaviest floods in 200 years, last year in 2020.

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Water as a living space

  • Which habitats can be found in and along the water areas of your area?

The vegetation and fauna of Tei Lake is endangered as the water level is continuously decreasing. The decrease of the water surface endangers both the fauna in the area - composed of fish, turtles and birds - as well as the existence of cat tails and different plant. Sport fishing is practiced. The lake is populated annually with species such as: carp, crucian, pikeperch and catfish.In the northern part of Lake Tei, there were greenhouses and orchards for research and practice for the University of Agronomy. They are now being cleared to make way for new buildings to be built.Along the lake we can find few species of different trees as Black Poplar and Weeping Willow.

  • How is the water quality in your water areas?

The water quality in the chain of anthropic lakes of the Colentina river is inadequate, due to the direct discharge into the river of the industrial units and residential areas wastewaters, from the following areas: Buftea, Crevedia and Mogoșoaia. Also, according to the analyses of the water quality carried out by the National Administration of Romanian Waters and by the Bucharest Lakes, Parks and Recreation Administration, in the water were found pathogenic germs, that indicate the fact that it was contaminated with faeces of human or animal origin. They also have found that the maximum permitted values for cadmium, copper and lead are exceed. These are heavy metals that can be a danger to human health if the water is consumed directly from the river or if the fish from the contaminated water is consumed excessively.

Over time, large amounts of silts have been deposited on the bottom of the lake, transported by the waters that supply the chain of anthropic lake. These silts deposits had the effect of decreasing the initial depth of the lakes, which facilitated the excessive growth of aquatic vegetation during the summer. Therefore the water turned green, creating an inappropriate appearance and also the impossibility of enjoying leisure activities such as: swimming, boating etc.

  • Which areas are still natural, which are urbanised/artificial?

The land use in this area is atypical for a lake because the protection area is ignored around the southern edge of the bayou and also in the middle area that contains a peninsula. This is due to the rapid urbanization of the city and the attractiveness of having a house near a water body. The urban areas around the lake are comprised of a few residential buildings (both individual residences and apartment buildings), sports bases, some orchards and up north an abandoned industrial area that’s now transitioning to residential establishments as well.

The northern edge has mainly preserved its’ natural elements due to the high risk of floods, although some construction sites can be seen not far from the border of the lake. On the sidewalks that can be found along the lake it’s almost impossible to see any of its beauty due to high-rise fences or neglected vegetation areas. Tei Park is the one public place where the lake can be admired, apart from the villas and residential buildings that have a view of the lake (but they’re not open for public).

The Lake itself deals with damaged vegetation patches and areas that need to be restored, but overall, despite the urban areas so close by, it has managed to keep a natural ambiance and its natural characteristics somewhat present. The natural habitat is unstructured and not fully incorporated in the urban fabric. The modern trends of development of water and near-water areas with low-rise buildings affect more or less clearly the quality of the green and blue infrastructure. Although there are natural landscape elements present, not introducing it into the urban landscape is a misuse of natures’ assets and intrinsic attractiveness that could positively impact the area.

  • Are the rivers permeable for fish or blocked by artificial elements?(approx 200 signs)

The connection between the two bodies of water neighbouring Tei Lake (Floreasca lake to the West and Plumbuita lake to the east) is made through dams aimed at raising the water level by 4m in order to facilitate a seamless transition from one water body to the other when needed. Nevertheless, due to the absence of large species of fish, the slots present in the dams' facade allow for the passage of fish, albeit somewhat restricted.

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Blue and Green Infrastructure

  • What are the major potential elements of a green/blue infrastructure network? Are these likely to change/disappear? Why is that?

The green infrastructure is mainly constituted by well-functioning biophysical micro-systems, to which management plans that come as a measure to the DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction) and CCA (climate change adaptation) may be applied to and, in the case of Tei Lake, is represented as two types of elements: spaces and lines, defined by urban forests, orchards, different sizes of green spaces as parks to gardens to street trees. The green infrastructure can be fractured in more systems at different scales, such as green networks: mezzo and micro, all of them combined defining the macro green system, which is the principal layer of the green infrastructure.

The blue infrastructure includes, as the name suggests, all bodies of waters, in various types of systems at different scales. Tei Lake is one of the major elements in Bucharest’s blue infrastructure, being one of the artificial chain lakes of the Colentina River, the biggest blue axis of the city at a macro level, followed by the Dâmbovița River axis.

The blue/green infrastructure is often used as a benefit for the flood control policies (as along the water line you often have floodable areas and unstable land due to the water damage which can be both solved by planting the right trees to stabilize the land and manage floods) and also in the ecological system and infrastructure and the socio-economics, as it can be seen as a point of attraction.

At a macro level - the city’s scale - the chain of lakes among the Colentina River is a strong blue/green axis, there being a concentration of both major blue and green infrastructure elements. In the Tei Lake’s local area, there are a lot of potential elements for a green/blue infrastructure network, as you can find an urban forest and an orchard right next to the lake’s north shore, but unfortunately most of them have been cut down in order to be urbanised. On the south shore, there is actually a hybrid infrastructure: blue, green and grey. The urban fabric is really dense as the urbanisation and the densification is the first priority for the sector’s hall and development strategy, but Lake Tei is one of the greenest neighbourhoods in the city, having small parks nearby (like Tei Park, Circus Park and Verdi Park) which are connected with green alignments that follow almost every road in the road infrastructure.

The area with potential for development is the zone adjacent to the lake, which currently is defined by different typologies of residential areas and sports/agrement centers. Those could be included in the city's blue/green infrastructure as ecological sysmems as ecological or green "villages" or neighbourhoods - for exemple the Tei Toboc island which is a whole houses neighbourhood within an island between Plumbuita and Tei Lake, or green methods as green walls or vertical gardens could be included in the collective housing area near the Tei Park. Also, on the north shore the new inserted buildings can be transformed in green residences in order to not agress or affect the urban orchard and forest that have been cut off for them to be built. This way, it could lead to a defined blue/green axis, as if there won't be any intervention those potential spaces will become gray areas due to the urbanisation and high density building trend.

  • add 1-2 graphical representations to the image gallery, you can add more if you like

Water as a cultural space

Land use and water

  • map the land uses along your water areas: settlements, infrastructure, agriculture, resource extraction, natural areas, energy production...
  • describe in particular the historical evolution of land use pattern, please make use of historical maps

In the 19th century, the Colentina River was not under the public administration of Bucharest City, however along the river were different human settlements, developed in an unorganized way, that can be indicated on the Wallachia map. As previously mentioned, between 1930 and 1940, numerous anthropic lakes were constructed along the Colentina River, including the Tei Lake. The hydrotechnical works suffered by the river in the last 60 years have irreversibly changed its appearance and functionality.

The hydrotechnical works executed between 1933 and 1972 had the following roles: supplementing the river flow, creating the chain of 18 anthropic lakes and reducing the risk of flooding and other associated risks. Before these hydrotechnical works executed along the Colentina River, poor families were settled, with shattered dwellings specific to the peripheries from the first half of the 20th century. The newly created chain of anthropic lakes has brought many benefits from both aesthetically and economically points of view. Therefore, in the study area were developed activities of fish farming and were established many parks and places of recreation. As a result of these changes the quality of life was increased considerably. The topographic maps and the old plans from different temporary periods, managed to capture, in general, the changes of the study area, thus representing an important basis for the analysis of the time dynamics of the Tei Lake.

The configuration of the Tei Lake has changed considerably in terms of area, shape and nearby land. Its surface has increased to 45 ha in 1931, extending to the northwest and northeast. The Tei Garden is mentioned for the first time on the Bucharest City map, and it was developed on the former lands destined for the pits behind the “Tonola” Brick Factory. The process of arranging the Tei Park began in 1948, after the end of the First World War. The name "Tei" comes from the areas populated by surrounding linden trees. In fact, the nomenclature has even extended to the transport network in the nearby area.

Between 1931 and 1939 there can be noticed a significant development in terms of road infrastructure in the northern part of the lake. Also, the Pipera Nursery is mentioned for the first time on the Bucharest City Map from 1939. The representation from the 1940 map suggests the development of new residential areas in the north-western, western and eastern parts of the lake. Between 1940 and 1968 can be noticed the process of urbanization of the area near the lake, the lands occupied by houses are being suffocated by the new blocks of flats. Also, by 1970 the surface of the lake reached 49 ha.

Until 1980, were made numerous changes, such as: the construction of the Tei Student Sports Complex, the construction of the Glucose Factory, which was located in the northwest, and the appearance of a small swamp in the east. After 1989, significant changes were made in terms of urban development. The territory of the city was the support for a chaotic urban development “supported” by the lack of a coherent urbanism legislation and by the lack of some useful urban and real estate development plans and strategies. Regarding the study area, these changes are noticeable because of the real estate development in the northern part of the lake, where individual houses were built, and in the north-western part, where residential groups of collective houses were built.

Currently, there is a densification of residential areas, especially in the eastern part of the lake, where the Tei Toboc neighbourhood is located, which is a disadvantaged area, the inhabitants being part of a low-income community.

  • description evolution, status quo and driving forces, is the land use likely to change? Why is that? (approx 200 signs)

Lake Tei was build as an anthropic lake to keep Colentina River from flooding, and it was initially thinked as an recreation lake where people could practice different water sports as it had a direct conexion with the student’s sports ground. During it’s evolution, this was not achieved due to the lack of planning around the lake and pollution, the water being insalubrious at the moment. The status quo and the driving forces are centered around the gray matrix of the neighbourhood and neglecting the green infrastructure, the densification of the urban fabric representing the priority. The lake is isolated from the urban fabric, the only connection being that most people try and build houses among the shoreline, so it is not used at it’s potential or in a blue/green infrastructure or matrix as it should be.

Giving it’s evolution in the past years, the status quo and the driving forces, the lake has gone through the gentrification process not in the way it was planned when it was created, but in a way that followed real estate interests. In the future, the gentrification progress is most likely to continue and follow the last 10 years tendencies, continuing to transform the few green areas remaining into high-class residential areas. Otherwise, the land use will remain the same, focusing on the residential areas.

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Cultural and spatial typologies of water areas

  • Which spatial patterns have evolved in relation to your water areas?

The topographic documents show an orginilaly mild, meandered flow, with lakes, pools and cesspools near the settlements, in the shape of long meanders it forms a chain of lakes which end with Cernica’s great pond, from where it borrows Dambovita’s meadow. In contemporaneity, the landscape has been profusely anthropized, most of Bucharest’s lakes displaying a relatively uniform landscape dotted with high-rising buildings. In Tei lake’s case, the landscpae is more heterogenous, with a highly fragmented siluette. In the south, there is a slim transition from the urban fabric to the water, mediated by a narrow strip of greenery. The eastern shore is flanked by residential buildings. Heading north, the spatial pattern changes, the immediate landscape being a natural one, with the prospect of it being anthropized too in the process of joining the business district up north through a mostly post-industrial landscape.

  • What is the role of water areas within the overall urban morphology? (approx 200 signs)

Instead of a relationship of co-determination and syncretism, the water ares and the overall urban morphology are developing in disunion.There is an absence of a morphological link at urban fabric level between the water, with many instances of an ever-densifying urban fabric penetrating into what ought to be a transition zone between the built environemnt and the water. In spite of the partial desintegration of natural ecosystems and a patchy blue green infrastructure, Bucharest’s water bodies fulfill an essential function, providing a notable, albeit incomplete, environment for recreational activities.

  • add 1-2 graphical representations to the image gallery, you can add more if you like

Sacred spaces and heritage

  • Which places/elements hold cultural value and to whom?
  • The Tei Lake Archaeological Site - Quay

The Tei Lake Archaeological Site - Quay is located on the southwestern shore of the Tei Lake. It is registered both in the List of Historical Monuments and in the National Archaeological Repertory and it was discovered in the interwar period, in 1928. The site is large, with an area of 20 ha, and is currently covered by modern facilities. Research conducted in the interwar period revealed 2 necropolises (one from the 3rd century BC and the second from the La Tène period) and 4 settlements (from the 6th century BC, the 2nd-4th century BC, the La Tène period and the Bronze Age). This discovery is important in the area due to the detecting of archaeological complexes and materials from the Bronze Age, which are the foundation of the Tei culture.

  • The Tei Toboc Archaeological Site

The Tei Toboc Archaeological Site is located on the western shore of the Tei Lake and it was discovered in the 60's. The site is large, with an area of 17.9 ha, and is currently covered by modern facilities. Recent archaeological research has identified pits and dwellings from the post-Roman era (approx. 4th century BC) and from the Migration era (6th century BC).

  • Grigore Ghica-Tei Palace

The palace is located near the Tei Lake, at a distance of about 200 m, being placed in the Plumbuita Park. The edifice was built in 1822 by Prince Grigore Dimitrie Ghica, after the plans of the architect Xavier Villacrosse. The building is registered on the List of Historical Monuments, having a national importance. Regarding the architectural style, the construction combines the neoclassical style with elements from the French Renaissance in accordance with the tendency of westernization of the Romanian Principalities of that time. Over the time, the palace has had various functions. This has led to a high level of degradation, which has led to the restoration of the entire architectural ensemble in 1978. Today, both the palace and the entire area surrounding it, are a cultural, social, and charitable events centre, open to the general public.

  • Doamnei Ghica Tei Church

The church is located in the Grigore Ghica-Tei Palace Ensemble. The place was built in 1833 by Prince Grigore Dimitrie Ghica and it is registered in the List of Historical Monuments, having a national importance. The construction was planned by the master Weltz and is the only monument in the city built in neo-classical Italian style. Around the church are the tombs of the members of the ruler's family, almost all of them being true art monuments, carved in marble.

  • You may add a map and some images, please also explain in your caption why these elements are valuable

Visual appearance and landscape narrative

  • Which elements are essential for the landscape character?

Tei Lake has an essential and central role in the area being the main natural element in this neighborhood. The characteristics of this natural habitat have been modeled by men and nature, the lake with its flora and fauna are resulting in a distinctive image that most people in the city know.

  • Has the landscape been painted or otherwise depicted, when and whom? Which elements are essential?

There are two paintings of the lake, one that’s called “View of Lake Tei” painted by Jean Alexandru Steriadi and that’s hung in The Art Collections Museum in Bucharest and one in the National Museum of Art Bucharest that’s called “Urban Landscape (Tei Lake)” Painted by Moser Padina, Alexandru in oil on canvas.

Jean Al. Steriadi’s painting was made in 1927 and it’s signed and dated in the down-right corner in black. This painting made in oil depicts a bit of the lake and its surroundings, the buildings of the era that look nothing like the villas we can find there today. The buildings and the trees reflect in the water and the author painted a serene and peaceful place in broad daylight.

The second painting shows on the mirror of a water 3 sailing boats, one of which is placed right in the center of the composition. In the back you can see buildings and natural elements of this tranquil urban landscape.

  • Which narratives exist? Who has written about this landscape or depicted it in some way?

In the past the lake has been nicknamed “Student lake” towards the end of the communist era in Bucharest. There was also a pub with the same name on the edge of the lake. This area of the lake didn’t always have a good reputation as in the ‘30s and ‘40s the press talked a lot about the unpleasant people that lived there and the frequent scandals that escalated from small arguments. Then the Tei Park and the Lake started being taken care of by the communists and the local administration and it started flourishing.

Water and People

Accessibility and usability

  • Where are your water areas accessible, and where not? How strong are spatial obstacles preventing access?

The water areas are not easily accessible for public, about 80% of the area around the lake is private so the public can only access the water from the park or some abandoned sites in the northern part. There are also two sports centers that have access to the water, other than that the water is accessible for private users who own or rent villas or apartments in the area.

  • Who is using the spaces and how?

The spaces are used by private and public actors. The area that contains the Park is managed by the local authorities and everybody has access to it being a public space. People choose to come here for some fresh air and leisure activities like walking, running and other outdoor occupations.

The other part of the spaces around Tei Lake are used by private people who live there and by a few small businesses around the lake like restaurants (one of them even has a crab farm on the lake).

Community Mapping

What is to be mapped here?

  • Social groups from within the community, for example the youth, kids, students, parents, the retired etc. Typically, these groups have specific needs, which you can also make explicit on the map. These people might not be organized in any way, but they are usually present in the context you are observing

Tei is a densely populated neighbourhood with a rich community life. ‘Grupul de Inițiativă Civică Lacul Tei’ stands out as a pioneer of the most civil society in the past decade. Due to the leading role it has played in and around the community, the group came to encompass a sizeable portion of community grievances, acting as both a platform and an amplifier for civic initiatives. The neighbourhood is one of great contrasts, the richest and the poorest being separated by nothing more than the water itself. On the hand, there is the posh residential and entertainment area on the western shore, in need of further investments and planning concessions for a speed up of the gentrification process. On the other hand, Tei Toboc which covers the peninsula on the eastern side of the lake is not connected to the municipal sewage system and is plagued by poverty, crime. When considering the absence of property papers on the residents’ part, despite their continual habitation of the area for generations, a vicious cycle is born, where the much-needed investments cannot be attracted due to both structural and legal deficiencies.

  • Local stakeholder groups: these groups are organized in one or the other way. They only exist within the community context you are observing. For example: the local community center, local churches, local interest groups, the landowners, small businesses and retailers

Due to the great disparities in wealth and potentially available land for residential developments, Tei neighbourhood is faced with a constant pressure emanating from powerful real estate interests. As a consequence, some the local community is at risk of being forced out due to a potential sweeping wave of gentrification. The neighbourhood’s attractiveness for investors constitutes a strong force, which needs to be carefully balanced by sound regulatory policy and thorough application of the legal norms. More broadly speaking, the area displays a strong offer of community aggregators through local churches and local businesses, which contribute to a deeply entrenched sense of community.

  • External stakeholder groups are not necessarily present in the environment you are observing, but they may have strong stakes and interests. These can be local authorities, politicians, associations, care services etc.

Since the fall of communism, Bucharest’s neighbourhoods have face a unified array of issues arising from the political and administrative sphere. As components of a maturing democracy, residents are confronted with co-participatory processes which are not yet up to full speed, resulting in unsound policy making at patchy application of existing norms due to prevalent corruption. Hence, recent history is dotted with instances of illegal erection of buildings as well as sometimes coordinated attacks of green spaces meant at freeing up space for business and residential developments.

Possible Futures

  • You can summarize your findings with a SWOT diagram and a DPSI(R) Model

Following the S.W.O.T. Analysis we found that Tei Lake is located in one of the greenest neighourhoods in Bucharest, with relevant facilities in the vicinity and a wide range of leisure facilities. Unfortunately poor infrastructure of the area lead to loss of natural habitats and the water being heavily polluted.The urban forest located on the northern part of the lake is not used at its full potential. Presenting a low risk of floods, and a strong local identity, Tei lake is integrated into MAIN BLUE – GREEN AXIS of Bucharest. There are few threats along side of the Tei Lake like – air & water pollution continuosly increasing, urban density increasing after 1989, and deforestation – for urban development. Urban densification, real estate interests, poor infrastructure, water pollution and uneven implication of the authorities lead are real drivers that lead to expansion of human habitants with inflated land & property prices.With a response of limiting the human expansion and aproaching sustainable methods for landscape restoration we could preserv the ecosystem.Urban sprawl, reduced water quality and high motorization rate can be evened while encouraging the return of animal & plant species through restoration of the natural enviroment. Short- term planning , fragmented landscape & communities and loss of natural habitants are some impacts caused by the negligence of authorities. Co-participative long-term strategic planning with focus on sustainability is a long-term response helping to diminish the bad impacts which occured during the years.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a blueprint to achieve a better and sustainable future for all, addressing the global challenges we face and giving information in order for people to take action. Those should be a starting point in every development strategy, and unfortunately, most of them are at risk given the current situation of Lake Tei and where the actual development of the site is going.

Most of the goals that are at risk are the ones that involve the water, the biodiversity and the climate as they are really affected by the pollution and the ignorance of the administration and city. The water is very polluted causing the lake to be a place where there can’t be any type of life below water and along the water line, thus the inexistence of biodiversity. Also, the fact that the water is continuously decreasing and the aggressive process of urbanisation led to the endangerment of both the fauna and the flora of the zone. Given the fact that there is less and less vegetation and the gray matrix is increasing in density, along with the overcrowding of cars on the principal arteries nearby and the missing sustainable methods of protection, the climate changes are really prominent, the temperature drops and increases being felt better in the lake’s zone than in other areas of the city.

The other set of goals that are at risk are the ones that refer to infrastructure, innovation, inclusion and sustainability. One of the biggest problems is the lack of water, electricity and sanitation infrastructure in some parts of the urban fabric, as well as the lack of inclusive design or that there are still marginalized and rural undeveloped zones within the area. Also, besides the sanitization of water, there is also a problem with the waste storages as it is not responsible at all and pollutes both the land and the water.

All these risks also are in conflict with the sustainable communities goal, as they are not a step towards development as they are one to regression, there being almost no sustainable development plans or methods approached in present.

  • What is your worst case scenario for this landscape?

In the worst case scenario Lake Tei continues to develop as is meaning that the residential areas will continue to grow out of proportions and invade whatever little natural elements are still there. This will cause major overcrowding and reduced accessibility to the water front. The Park won’t be able to salvage the reputation of the area and the lake will not be able to maintain its attractiveness and natural habitats. The water quality will diminish which will cause health problems for the residents and the local business around the lake will lose clients and go into financial failing and in the end bankruptcy. The aggression of the natural zones remained (urban forest and the orchards) will aggravate thus causing the water body to become obsolete in the process of maintaining its biodiversity and ecosystems intact. Water pollution and pollution because of the overcrowding will decrease the value of Tei Lake area as a sports and wellness resort and increase health hazards, lowering the quality of life.

If authorities lose any more interest in the area and don’t start managing the natural ecosystem and habitats as they should, we would lose a part of the city’s identity and local culture that’s been around for decades. With no protection zone for the lake, the area that poses a risk of flooding will damage the buildings and because of the winds and unconstrained building sites the ecosystem will become permanently damaged with no chance of ever getting it back to its days of flourishing and glory.

  • What is your best case scenario for this landscape?

Because the Tei Lake is part of the chain of anthropic lakes of the Colentina River, its degree of optimal functionality depends to a certain extent on the proper functioning of the entire lake system. Thus, in terms of the best case scenario, 2 major directions are pursued: connectivity and sustainability.

Therefore, in the best case scenario, the Tei Lake is strongly connected to the Blue and Green infrastructure of Bucharest, the main axis being formed by the Colentina River and the green spaces (parks, urban forests, orchards etc.) that are found along it. On that ground should be noted the Tei Park and Plumbuita Park, which are located on the southern and south-eastern shore of the Tei Lake, and the urban forest and an orchard, located on the northern shore. The whole ensemble is an important and complex point on the main Blue and Green main axis of the city. The connectivity between the lakes and between the green areas in their proximity is supported by a safe pedestrian and cycle path, organized at a macro level and which highlights the points of attraction.

The level of sustainability of the Tei Lake has increased, primarily due to the active involvement of the community and the public administration which has led to sustainable approaches to the development of the lake and the surrounding areas. Thus, both the existing housing areas and the new developments have become green neighborhoods, with a lower construction coefficient. Also, the level of pollution has decreased significantly as a result of water treatment and of the development of sustainable transport infrastructure. In the area of the lake and its shores, recreational areas and sports centers have been arranged, which has led to an increased level of interest in the lake area.

  • Present your scenarios in the form of a collage or sketch
  • Add text and visuals

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

Based on the lake’s status quo and context analysis, we have set 3 strategic planning objectives:

-increased accessibility and connectivity to the lake with a focus on pedestrians and for alternative means of transport such as bikes and electrical scooters, considering that currently the 80% of the lake’s adjacent surface is inaccessible for pedestrials but is for cars and because of this the shoreline is very polluted with household waste and emissions;

-habitat and ecological restoration of the site, given the fact that most of the living species are endangered or dissapeared because of the high pollution and that the green infrastructure is damaged and agressed because of the urban fabric densification

-reduced pollution and sustainable approach in development, as the site is in the proximity of a very transited road and the emissions pollution is high and the household management is very poor and the chaotic development of the urban fabric is focused on buildings and gray density so it doesn’t have a sustainable approach but could be turned into a green neighbourhood

The site was chaotically developed due to a poor administration, but can be easily changed into a more green, sustainable neighbourhood with a change of paradigm and the community’s involvement. The community could help with the pollution reduction and the change in landscape, as there could be participating and making programs including cleaning the lake,the shoreline, planting trees and helping make a promenade, but also giving more attention to the existing green spaces.

Those strategic objectives are the base to our vision of the lake’s development, but they are also built on the sustainable development goals. This way, the goals that were at risk are turned into assets of achieving our general goals: a green and sustainable community, ecological infrastructure, habitats and biodiversity restored all making the site an attractive local point of interest.

Spatial Strategy and Transect

  • translate your strategic goals into a vision

The previously formulated objectives are the basis for the development and restoration strategy of the Tei Lake. This strategy has a durability of 20 years, the vision formulated below is referring to the state of the area in 2040.

Thus, in 2040, Tei Lake is part of the main Green-Blue Axis of Bucharest, being well connected to leisure and recreational activities that take place along the anthropic lake system. At a macro level, in 2040, the green spaces (parks, urban forests, orchards etc.) that are located along the main Green-Blue Axis are interconnected and have a high level of accessibility in terms of sustainable mobility. The connectivity between the lakes is supported by a safe pedestrian and cycle path, which has a length of approx. 33 km and it connects the Străulești Lake with Pantelimon Lake.

Regarding the Tei Lake, the accessibility for sustainable mobility is increased through pedestrian and cycle path that connects the whole anthropic lake system and the nearby green area, becoming an important point in the main Green-Blue axis of the city. The presence of this route has generated the appearance of rental points for bicycles and scooters and special parking spots dedicated to sustainable means of transport.

The active involvement of the community and the public administration has led to sustainable approaches to the development of the lake and its surrounding areas. Thus, in 2040, both existing housing and the new developments have become green neighbourhoods where the focus has been on increasing the quality of housing by: increasing the green area per capita, reducing noise and chemical pollution by restricting vehicle access and creating direct links with the Tei Lake through pedestrian routes.

Regarding the activities that take place in the immediate vicinity of the Tei Lake, they are mainly of a public nature and they are falling into two main categories: sports and leisure activities. The Tei Student Cultural Sports Complex, located on the western shore of the lake, was rehabilitated in order to obtain accessibility to the lake shore, thus facilitating various sports activities on the lake such as kayaking-canoeing, rowing and powerboat racing. Also, the unbuilt area in the northern part of the Tei Lake was afforested in proportion of 85%, which facilitated the development of leisure activities such as golf, archery and paintball. In the east of the Laguna residential district, a recreation and spa complex was built along the northern shore of the lake, exclusively facilitating the swimming activity in this area.

The afforestation of a part of the northern shore of the lake and the decrease in the level of pollution led to habitat and ecological restoration of the area. Also, along the lake shore are organized pedestrian and cycle paths that connect activities with each other and through urban design it increases the level of attractiveness and accessibility of the Tei Lake. Along the shore, in the immediate vicinity of the pontoons, special points dedicated to recreational fishing have been arranged.

Therefore, in 2040, Lake Tei is an important recreational area in the city that is distinguished, in particular, by its sporting character. It has increased accessibility and is well connected to the anthropic lake system on the Colentina River.

  • develop a spatial translation of your vision
  • exemplify your vision in the form of a transect with concrete interventions
  • add map(s) and visualizations

From Theory of Change to Implementation

  • For implementing your vision: Which partnerships are needed? Which governance model is required?

Our vision will be implemented through a holistic approach centred around participatory governance and public-private partnerships. The end goal is to forge out a community level management and decision making process that is undertaken by, with or on behalf of a community, consisting of a social, cultural, environmental and political dimension. In order to do so, we envisage a process-based approach focused on community empowerment, leadership and ownership through local capacity building and consultation. From a micro perspective, it is of utmost importance that the local community has a clear platform for expressing grievances, ideas and aspirations. The next step towards an efficient governance model is a further channeling of information up the chain, making sure that all the feedack picked up from within the community is turned into sound policy, placing the people at the centre of any initiative. Lastly, said sound policy must be picked up by metropolitan and national authorities and implemented with a thorough focus on transparency, leading to public oversight and community empowerment.

  • Who needs to act and how? Draw and explain a change/process model

Coparticipatory planning requires an extension in both depth and width when it comes to aggregating actors. Hence, we seek participation on both a hiearchical level – from the local to the national level -, as well as horizontal involvement stemming out of the local community. For a participatory governance model to yield the expected results, all local and national actors need a certain degree of representation. From a bottom-up point of view, the process is based on citizen’s assemblies which provide a platform for channeling community discontent and drafting up solutions. Further up the chain, local and metropolitan authorities need to adopt and implement a feedback-loop, stemming out of permanent communication with community leaders, elected representatives and local stakeholders, such as economic actors. The process needs to further be augmented by thorough monitoring mechanisms, built on transparency and public oversight. For true participatory community planning to happen, the pathways for grievances and their subsequent solving needs to be clear and flexible enough to adapt to ever-changing social circumstances. Once the feedback loop and monitoring tools are establishing, a self-perpetuating participatory mechanism emerges.

  • Which resources are needed? On which assets can you build?

Based on our survey of the area, we strongly believe that the structural conditions offer a strong foundations of assets on which the community can further develop. On the other hand, Tei Toboc raises serious challenges for the future in the attempt to integrate it in the wider commununity structure and develop it to a satisfactory level. Property rights due to mostly illegal squatting of the area and a lack of basic infrastructure are the main challenges faced by the area which nevertheless, through its location, can become a vector of growth for the area in the coming decades. The opposite shore of the lake represents the economic core of the area, as well as the biggest peril to the local community if growth will continue to happen without any checks and balances. If Tei Toboc requires hard infrastructure, the story is completely different on the other side of the lake. were sound preventive policy is the only way to ensure that existing and future assets are used in the interests of the local community.

  • add 150 words text and visuals


  • give a full list of the references you have used for your case

Process Reflection

  • Reflect in your intercultural and interdisciplinary team on the outcomes of your study

We rendered an accurate image of the Tei community and the methods and tools require for a deep and structured understanding of local dynamics. The main palpable outcome of the study is putting high quality research out there for the public, empowering the local community through interdisplinary knowledge on the history of the water body around which their community is built.

  • Which limitations were you facing?

The main limitations we faced resided in accessing reliable data and surveys of the local community.

  • What have you learnt from each other?

Due to the democratic way in which our team approached every task, we learned how to operate as one while picking up skills from each other when working on tasks together. On the one hand, we learned more about community and governance from our team mate with a political science background. On the other hand, we all got to polish our graphic skills, becoming better at conveying our ideas in an easy to understand visual manner.

  • What did you learn in the Living Labs?

We gained the ability to look at water as an interdisciplinary phenomenon and understand how different layers of comprehension interact with each other. Moreover, we acquired a set of skills which will act as a platform for future research endeavours. Lastly, the concept of Living Labs changed the way in which we regard coparticipatory planning, guaranteed to have future ramifications in our ways of thinking and hence the work we will be producing as professionals.

  • What would you do differently next time?

Now that we have a thorough grasp on how Living Labs are meant to proceed, we would plan ahead better to ensure an even distribution of the workload throughout the project.

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  • 250 words text