The Cheson Beach is an important resource-space for the city of Zimnicea and its surrounding villages, as an area that remains accessible to many social categories. Although it does not have access to public transportation, the beach is a common place for group activities intensely used during the summer months. The space is transformed through the continuous negotiation of daily practices of use: relaxation, play, swimming, music, parking cars and carts with horses, cattle drinking in the Danube, ATV rides. Although it is not a large space, it is the only beach of the city that has not been privatized, becoming a place intensely used for leisure in the absence of other available recreation activities.
In such unplanned spaces, the rules remain diffuse. This contributes to their attractiveness but also leaves many unregulated aspects that can become overwhelming (parking cars on the beach) and unsustainable (lack of waste collection). Although heavily used, the concern for the condition of the beach and its waste management have remained outside the responsibility of both the public administration and the community.
The intervention on the beach is part of the project “With Clean Waters”, developed by the „Mai Mult Verde” NGO and Lidl Romania, as a call for involvement in fighting plastic pollution of the Danube River. The project is addressed to both community members and public authorities in riparian cities.
The pilot project strengthens the open and inclusive nature of the space through a series of facilities for collective activities, as a good opportunity for co-management of a public space between local administration, non-governmental organizations, local entrepreneurs and the community.
The project consists of a linear wooden structure, proposing a series of double oriented public equipment, accessible both from the beach and the forest. Their role is to mark an entrance area for the beach and frame it from the nearby car park. Informative panels and selective waste bins are located in the access area, which has the best visibility and accessibility. Multiuse places (bicycle rack, picnic table, seating, ping-pong table, playground, outdoor dressing cabin and volleyball net) are located along the beach and have open access.
Although it is a temporary intervention, the facilities extend the collective activities that can take place in the space beyond the usual summer period. The project displays a series of graphic elements (logos, panels, posters) that help to establish and understand common rules for using the beach.
As a step in the process of discovering the public potential of the Danube banks, the Cheson Beach defines a test and experiment area that illustrates the need for spaces with collective use, managed responsibly to combat plastic pollution of the Danube River.
Location: Zimnicea, România
Client: Mai Mult Verde NGO
Partner: Zimnicea CityHall
Photo credit: Asociația Mai Mult Verde P1, P2, P3, P5, P9, Atelier Ad Hoc Arhitectura: P4, P6, P7, P8, P10, P11, P12, P16
“Architecture and public space” nomination at the Bucharest Architecture Annual for the project “Public Installation at Cheson beach” (2020)