DOI: 10.5593/SGEM2014/B62/S27.076


M. Grbic
Wednesday 1 October 2014 by Libadmin2014

References: 14th International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference SGEM 2014, www.sgem.org, SGEM2014 Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7105-21-6 / ISSN 1314-2704, June 19-25, 2014, Book 6, Vol. 2, 589-596 pp

The intent of this paper is to present how several basic interdependent characteristics of the functional organization of Romanipen (Roma cultural identity) based Roma communities represent the ethos of the formation of spatial structures and construction methods in informal Roma settlements which correspond with the principles of sustainable architecture. Given this context, the paper starts with the broader interpretation of territorialization which suggests the existence of a relation between the spatial and the social level of Roma settlements; a relation that makes possible the understanding of what this cultural group produces in space. The physical spatial patterns of informal Roma settlements were created without professionals’ influence and represent a quality induced by the need to functionally organize a community where everyday activities take place. Therefore, the characteristics of spatial organization and construction methods in unplanned Roma settlements are the actual object of research when examining a collective lifestyle as the dominant pattern in everyday behavior determined by concrete Romanipen principles. Further on, the paper compares research results – a systematic overview of characters of physical structures and construction principles – with the principles of sustainable architecture, thus formulating several conceptions of physical structure which can be considered as culturally adjusted environment that at the same time integrates both the realized principles of sustainable architecture and the potential for further acceptable development in the same domain. Methodologically, the paper will also include case studies of representative types of spatial organization in slum-type informal Roma settlements in Belgrade, Serbia. The Case Study analysis was included week-long observation of the lifestyle and habitation of the members of certain community and informal conversation with them. The purpose of the paper is firstly to emphasize the fact that the Roma microenvironments already offer their own ways to participate in the creation of cities of future. Acknowledging the character of the physical structure of a culturally adjusted environment with integrated sustainability principles has a dual effect: it pushes architecture towards a smarter, more sustainable future; and, it achieves the fulfillment of certain spatial needs which enable the development of a cultural identity, meaning the enabling of adequate conditions for a lifestyle acceptable to the Roma population. It is known that, in terms of social upgrade, the ability of affirming the attributes of cultural identity and the appreciation of differences represent an inevitable condition for interculturalization which ought to be included into the architectural practice to successfully accomplish the social cohesion of the Roma people.

Keywords: informal Roma settlements, culturally adjusted environment, sustainable housing, social cohesion.