György telep and Pata Rat. Group Task on Redevelopment Projects in Roma Neighbourhoods
As you read in Chapter 5, Roma settlements are present in large parts of Europe. They exist particularly in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, but also on smaller scale in other parts of Europe. Most Roma in the CEE countries (EU member states which were part of the Eastern bloc) live in very poor housing conditions. They face poverty, exclusion and discrimination in education, labour market and housing and development policy. However, there is a wide diversity regarding the living conditions and social relations between different Roma neighbourhoods. This reflects the Roma’s heterogeneous, stratified, geographically and linguistically diversified social position in different CEE countries and settlements. In the following videos and articles, you can learn about two of them: The first, György telep, is situated on the periphery of the county seat town of Pécs, Hungary. The other one, called Pata Rat, belongs to the developed metropolitan city of Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
Watch: Take a look at the following two videos, to get first impressions from the two neighbourhoods:
- World Bank information video on the redevelopment project in György telep
- Trailer of a documentary about Pata Rat
Get informed: We now invite you to work in pairs or threes. Choose one case study and consult the following sources to gain in-depth knowledge.
For György telep:
- Watch this video from the Hungarian Maltese Charity service about the redevelopment project.
- Read this scientific article about the general conditions, the process and the effects of the redevelopment project.
For Pata Rat:
- Watch this clip, provided by the Romanian Foundation Desire about social protests regarding eviction and development in Pata Rat
- Read this scientific article comparing the settlement in Pata Rat with the luxurious real estate project Maurer Panoramic and contextualising both in the context of the neoliberal city.
- Additional material: Watch this documentary on Pata Rat.
Analyse: Based on the videos and the articles, answer the following questions in bullet points or small sentences. Prepare a small poster or presentation for the other group.
About the neighbourhood:
- How can you describe the spatial position of the neighbourhood within the city? What do you know about this area?
- How is the quality of housing? Is there access to public services in these neighbourhoods?
- How did these families get there? What do we know about these families?
- Who is the owner of the houses?
- Is it a Roma neighbourhood?
- What was the main achievement of the development project?
- Did it change the neighbourhood? How?
- Did the families benefit from the development project? If yes, how? If now, why not?
- How did the physical conditions of the houses change?
- How did the spatial position of the neighbourhood within the city change?
- Who initiated the development program?
- What kind of organisation(s) was/were the main driver(s) of the project?
- How were the inhabitants involved in it?
- Who had the right to participate in the planning process?
- What kind of tensions and between whom can you identify during the development project?
Present and discuss: Find a group which worked with the other project. Mutually present your results to each other. Then discuss the following questions:
- What are the main differences between the two projects in regards to spatial, social and political aspects?
- Would you consider the projects successful? Why (not)? In regards to which criteria?
- What else could/should be done in the neighbourhoods or in the broader context?
If you want to continue working individually on the re-development topic, check this writing exercise.