Welcome to Chisinau

Chișinău  is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Moldova. The city is Moldova’s main industrial and commercial center, and is located in the middle of the country, on the river Bâc. According to the results of the 2014 the population of the Municipality of Chișinău (which includes the city itself and other nearby communities) was 700,000. The city is the most economically prosperous locality in Moldova and its largest transportation hub. Nearly a third of Moldova’s population lives in the metro area.

Chișinău is the major industrial center of Moldova and is especially important for light engineering and the manufacture of measuring equipment, machine tools, tractors, pumps, refrigerators, washing machines, and insulated wiring. Wine making, flour milling, and tobacco processing are notable among the city’s agriculture-related industries. There are also clothing and footwear factories. The city is the cultural center of Moldova, with an academy of sciences, a university (1945), other institutions of higher education, and several scientific research establishments

The Chisinau Regeneration Agenda, from an AGORA perspective

Under the AGORA project Chisinau worked on the thematic cluster `Unused/ Underused buildings’  dedicated to the matchmaking between vacant commercial spaces in the city and potential users

In total throughout the city there are 977 buildings that posses the statute of architectural monuments located in the urban area that are included in the “Register of monuments of national and municipal importance” approved by the City Hall of Chisinau in 1995.

A lot of the monuments included in the registry are fully or partially in possession of the Local Public Authority, the town hall directly, or one of its subdivisions. Because of the very extensive list of monuments, not all the buildings on the list are being tended to at a high degree, making them the victims of neglect and decay.

This conglomerate of factors led to the gathering of a large number of unused or underused buildings in the city, most of them being monuments of architecture that have a particular legal status.

A new approach on dealing with these buildings is needed. 

The creation of an Urban Regeneration Agenda will allow an alternative view and a broad list of solutions for particular implementation. The pilot project is supposed to serve as testing ground for the agenda.

As such, from among three pilot projects BUCIUMUL was selected by the municapality as the first case study and implementation project.

So let’s delve into this once upon a time movie plot and what the future holds for it!

Check out some Chisinau Landmarks

More on BUCIUMUL Studio

BUCIUMUL Studio was founded in 1992 at the initiative of Mr. Tudor Tataru, a prolific movie director.

The location is an expansive area in the city, once used as an important movie set for the country,  now on the verge of being regenerated for commercial and creative functions.

Since it was created the studio has been a Folkloric Films & Comedy Production House, Creation Association and finally as a National Center of Art Creation “The Moldovan Village BUCIUMUL”. The main goal for BUCIUMUL has always been to promote national cultural heritage and art and to increase the popularity of the national traditions in an amazing out of time environment.CNC  “Satul Moldovenesc BUCIUMUL” is a model village in the city center where you can discover how our people used to live for centuries and as well to witness our culture, art & traditions.

BUCIUMUL and the location around it, an anatomy

The area is quite expensive, located in the city center of Chisanau, with a decent infrastructure and a history of serving the arts industries. On the other hand, the buildings in the property are damaged, and need investment to ensure continuity.

The project will attempt to ensure that pollution of the area (especially from contamination and noise) is avoided. The area will also be environmentally protected while it’s historical character is preserved.

The site will be available to the general public, but statistically it will be mainly used by residents of the city center, except for public events, where it will gather residents from all over the city. 

Our Agora partners Victor, and Mihai take us on a walk through a big area located in the city centre – once an important movie set for the country, it is now on the verge of being regenerated for commercial and creative functions.

Chisinau Deputy Mayor Ilie Ceban offers an overview of the AGORA project, from the perspective of the urban regeneration agenda of Chisinau.

Urban development agenda goals: linking urban vacancies with social opportunities

BUCIUMUL is one of the many urban regeneration projects considered and part of a development agenda of the municipality. The overall goal of the municipality in collaboration with AGORA is:

●The creation of new operational and policy tools for public administrations to enable the process in a timely manner of the Urban regeneration: AGORA Toolkit;

Taking into account the development processes of the society, the local public administration needs operational tools, policies and strategies to stimulate the process of urban regeneration.By creating the toolkit, a platform of instructions related to the pilot project will be created, which can then be applied to other urban regeneration projects.

●The co-creation of joint and operational development strategies at local level:

The development of joint strategies at the local level plays an important role aimed at simplifying recovery procedures and land use, linking urban vacancies with socio-economic opportunities, streamlining brown-and-white public and private redevelopment and built-up vacant assets, quick tracking facilities, financing options, packages and innovative schemes addressed to help private owners or future users.

●Promoting organizational innovation for the cooperative management and valuation of the city’s assets:

The Agora platform will enable the capitalization of the city’s assets by reinforcing a capacity building program. At the same time, organizational innovation in local processes will be an important element.

The strategy

Creating sustainable community spaces

The overall vision for the pilot is first of all, to create a space for the community that will be able to function sustainably.

The main directions that are approached can be split into three main categories: cultural, social and economic.

The cultural category is focusing on the organization of events, concerts and workshops. Continuing to work in the cultural directions will ensure to maintain the status of a creative center of the location.

The current building allows for the use in a various number of ways, and is able to target both visual and audio forms of arts, thus ensuring a constant use.

The social category will focus on the creation of the hybrid park that will serve both as a green area for the neighborhood, and also function as a street food zone and artisanal seasonal market. The park will be targeting the residents of the area, who will be able to rest in a park that is situated in proximity to their home, and will not have the necessity to traverse the city to visit one of the main parks.

The street food/artisanal market will also be a point of interest that will increase the visits, generating an additional revenue that will allow for extra budget for the maintenance of the park.

The economic category is meant to create a creative/gastronomic hub that will allow both for further investments and also create new opportunities for aspiring chefs, while delighting the guests with exquisite cuisine. Since gastronomy, local cuisine and wine are one of the main tourist attractions of Moldova, the problem of making the place profitable resides in the creation of a good business plan and correct targeting.

Let's talk impact!

Organizational impact:

The pilot project in the first phase is going to function as a municipal enterprise that will manage the main cultural area, because the director of the enterprise is a renowned artist with cultural management experience. The plan is to establish, there will be a Private-Public-Partnership  for the gastronomic enterprise.

Environmental impact:

The environmental impact of the project is going to be positive, as in the overall design plans, there is a green area planned to function as a park/street food area. For years the whole area, including the greenery was neglected, and at some point in time, a massive part of it was paved, removing the trees and depriving the place of a small park. According to the necessities of the inhabitants is needed, that’s why it was included as the main component


Business impact:

The „activation” of the area will allow for new businesses to develop. Because of the increased activity in the area, the demand for coffee shops, bakeries and cultural venues will increase. The presence of small homes with street access will facilitate the incorporation of local franchises in the area and will grant access to decently priced services.

Social impact:

Buciumul will become once again a place for social gathering and cultural interactions, taking in consideration the multitude of choices offered by the center -just reading a book in the park, bringing the kids to an art class or concert of their peers, trying out international street food cuisines or eating at a fancy gastronomical hub. The main difference with the old role of the creative center will be the disappearance of the elitist segregation factor that in the past allowed only for the friends/relatives of the former `owner` to visit the center.

The problems and challenges facing the project

During the project implementation period, a number of  issues such as the pandemic crisis, the crisis situation in Ukraine, the lack of a budget line for equipment, etc. were encountered.
Each of these challenges directly affected reaching the project objectives while restricting the ability to hold physical meetings, meetings abroad with external partners, which, together, influenced the proper organization of the project’s activities.

According to the municipality:

“Following recent events worldwide we’ve faced many challenges, such us:

●Energy crisis;

●Pandemic crisis;

●Crisis in Ukraine;

All of them have led to rising fuel, food, real estate prices etc.

A lot of the funding has gone into managing the refugee crisis. Both Central and Local authorities are still trying to develop policies to get out of the situations created by these crises, however, most decisions are and remain very uncertain. As a municipality, we will try to allocate the necessary resources to overcome these problems, such as:

●the development of new strategies in the context of the current crises;

●proposing the adjustment of local legislation;

●requesting external aid when necessary;

●developing programmes to inform the population about the current situation and how we could overcome these;

●involving stakeholders in the decision-making process;

Meet the Local Actors

The most important actors, according to the municipality, are:

Technical University of Moldova – Department ofArchitecture

General Department of Architecture,Urban Planning and Land Relations

Ion Stefanița -Expert in heritage management and sustainable development.

“The role of these experts is due to their increased interest in the Agora project, taking part in all the activities organized within the project, they made comments whenever the plans were presented and requested additional information about Agora and other partners involved inthe program.
Thus based on their feedback, it was easier for us to achieve the objectives of the project.”


They play an essential role in developing the site,  construction work and realization.

Rezident park

The investor and funding provider.

Civic association

They are involved in the process with feedback and dialogue.

Prague city hall

Responsible for the spatial planning.

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