ABSTRACT

Practices of informal and illegal habitation have been interwoven with the development of Bucharest as a city throughout the last two centuries. This chapter discusses different types of informal or illegal dwelling identified in the Romanian capital, the complex socio-economic and political conditions leading to practices of illegal occupation, the different laws, norms and stigmas regulating the status of such practices and the identities of informal occupants. The case study of Bucharest offers possible answers to three questions: what are the links between squatting and urban development; what are the functions of squatting in the city; and what are the characteristics of the squatting processes that grant them such functions? As the largest city in the country, Bucharest represents a special case, exhibiting the widest diversity of urban housing practices.