Sleeping Districts

Long after the abolition of the communist regime, Romania’s urban landscape is still dominated by housing developments built under Ceausescu. Ever since I was born I have continually been experiencing living in such typical communist flats. Some of my dearest childhood memories consist of mental pictures of the small flat I grew up in, as well as of the surrounding neighborhood, with its myriad of dull residential blocks, back maze-like alleys where I used to play, the school, and the local grocery store and market I used to frequent with my mother. All these landmarks, when looked at as a whole, function as a typical community - perhaps too large to allow one to get acquainted with each and every one of its members, yet too small to exist as an independent city on its own. Under the promise of having all the facilities within an easily accessible radius, these areas were constructed so as to be completely and densely populated in the evening, who would then commute during daytime to their workplaces in other parts of the city. Thus, ‘Sleeping Districts’ felt as the perfect title that would encapsulate the reality and day-to-day rhythm of these concrete ecosystems.

Nowadays these aging blocks have become outdated, their parking lots insufficient, their once neatly styled gardens have become home to rampant weeds, former cinemas have been left completely abandoned, and the local marketplace is being replaced by foreign supermarket chains. Furthermore, within a short walk away from the buzzing Sleeping District a new large shopping mall has been erected, now replacing what once used to be a factory.