The river Dambovita is Bucharest's green artery, a vibrant public space where people can enjoy the water, the fauna, the flora, and the community
Today we have for you the story of the river Dambovita, Bucharest's green artery, a vibrant public space where people can enjoy the water, the fauna, the flora, and the community. This was the reason for which a project was created to turn the river into a conduit for communication between neighborhoods, people, and ideas.
We invited Valentin Talaba, communication manager for Nod Makerspace, the association running a special event, to tell us about it:
“If we look at the big cities of Europe, such as Berlin, which has the Spree, Paris, which has the Seine and the Saint Martin Canal, London, which has the Thames, we see that Bucharest also has a river running through, but its potential is rather wasted. Many Bucharesters don't even notice that we have a river. That is when I got the idea: “Why don't we connect the two sectors of the city it crosses, Sector 3 and 4, and to use this opportunity offered by water to bring together two communities, and create some cultural and educational activities for the little ones, and for the big ones, and to get together in a very pleasant place.”
We asked Valentin Talaba what happened at the Dambovita Delivery event:
“We had over 30 activities, starting with children's workshops, then cultural activities, discussions about literature, then music concerts, and food court events. In addition, the most important was the boat ride from the National Library to the Mihai Bravu square, showing how important it is to have a navigable river crossing the city, with its little dams, where we created these pontoons to get to the other side of the river. In addition, we had collaborative art activities, such as creating a rainbow from sewing thread across the river. We refurbished the Abattoir Bridge, and we worked on the concrete sides of the river to give it more color and freshness. I think the most important thing is that people understood that they can enjoy the city in different ways, that they can enjoy it without necessarily spending money, just by taking part of activities, connecting with themselves, and connecting with the communities they are a part of.”
The event had an announcement in order to lure there people with ideas for projects. It reads: “If you have a project idea that can change the Dambovita river, tell us about it! We are seeking art interventions, civic initiatives, educational projects, and interactive workshops to revive the space around the river.”
Alina Tofan, an eco-performer, was present with the installation Plastic Womb, and she told us about it:
“We, the Plastic Art Performance Collective, meaning me and my friend Georghiana Vlahbei, took part in this edition of the Dambovita Delivery with an eco-performance and object installation, which was supposed to be an alarm regarding the plastic pollution in running waters, and the effect that plastics have on river ecosystem. The feedback was very good, especially from the organizers, because they gave us the opportunity to present this work. It was made together with designer Teo Radulescu. People were curious, we provided a QR code that allowed them to listen to the story of our installation. It was called Plastic Womb, because sadly this is close to the image that river ecosystems leaves in our mind. Our work was a manifesto, and an attempt to raise awareness and cause involvement from civil society.”
Valentin Talaba told us about the future plans for consolidating the connection between people of the city and the river that runs through it:
“We will continue to organize in the future the Dambovita Delivery, and, at the same time, we are starting discussions about the quality of the river and the direction that a city can take by using this important resource.”
Some temporary solutions were proposed, such as shows, discussions, exhibitions, and art interventions, but also permanent ones, proposals for reconfiguration submitted to the authorities. What are still needed are proposals for urban activation, meaning projects to convert and restore urban furnishings, art intervention projects, which revive public spaces around the river, but also projects in support of communities, bridging gaps between people. All this is for the purpose of raising awareness that there is a river crossing the city, and that it is a boon for its citizens.