Living at the Edge

Petruț Călinescu

The periphery, until recently just an antechamber to the great capital city, a place of transition for those who can’t yet afford living in the city, is gradually losing its role as wall of a besieged citadel. Now we see a reversed flux: people flee from the city, albeit temporarily. Contrasts and contradictions are Bucharest’s most prominent features and continue to define its image, as they have since its beginnings. Wherever you start your walk along its circumference, you can meet pickers of medicinal plants, landfills and mounds of rubble, residential areas with aspirational names (German Residence, French Village, Barcelona Residence, etc.) right next to industrial facilities, model aircraft enthusiasts (Chitila), witches, sportsmen, groups out for a barbecue, homeless people. The same space can gain different meanings depending on the various ways people relate to it.