UIA BAIA MARE: Smart Post-Industrial Regenerative Ecosystem (SPIRE)

SPIRE is our latest Urban Innovative Actions project, financed under the 4th call of the UIA Initiative, which supports the most innovative cities of Europe in piloting yet-untested and completely novel solutions to pressing urban challenges. It is the only such project financed in the Eastern European region, and leverages on local assets and knowledge coming from our very strong national partners: the Baia Mare Municipality, Indeco soft, ARIES Transilvania, Baia Mare Metropolitan Area, the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca and the Green Energy Cluster.

SPIRE has the ambition of starting a long-term environmental, social and economic redevelopment in Baia Mare, facilitating its transition from Romania’s ex-mining capital to a leader of environmental design and production. It will achieve this through the co-development of new adaptive and productive landscapes, integrated into a circular ecosystem of cascading material and energy value chains.

The project proposes a revolutionary approach to adaptive phytoremediation and ecosystem creation on urban Heavy Metal-polluted land, as a strategy for long-term (2050) land use management and economic re-profiling. It leverages on the potential for cascading value chains presented by the bio-based material flows, and supports its translation into new economies and social entrepreneurship through a system of incentivization via a local token value system creating a circular environmental bonification system. The approach brings radical and innovative improvements to the burdensome way in which cities are currently forced to deal with the complex negative externalities of brownfields.

SPIRE experiments with land (re)use planning, renaturing and adaptive high-value biomass reuse, addressing the needs of a vast share of EU cities, through:

  • A strategic governance / multi-stakeholder co-development framework, supported by the iLEU as a market opener for environmental entrepreneurship and behavioural transition
  • A Remediation Toolkit and Adaptive Site Management Application
  • A replicable approach to supporting local circular business models
  • An LCA assessment and methodology for long-term (2050) adaptation and reuse potential capitalization at urban or FUA level.

At Baia Mare Metropolitan level, 627 ha of mining and heavy industry brownfields could potentially be recovered and reused as renatured productive landscapes, in a cost-effective gentle remediation process. Without municipal hard remediation resources, taking ownership has not been a viable option to date for Baia Mare and many other mining cities in Romania and beyond – SPIRE can finally offer the missing solutio. This is why our strategy for scaling up is embedded in the project workplan and coordinated by URBASOFIA, the Integrated Metropolitan bio-based Strategy and Masterplan 2050.

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