Volume XII |

The change of the urban network along the middle and lower Danube during transition

Abstract: The economy and urban development of the riparian regions have been partly determined by the Danube as an inland navigation line (e.g. Dunaújváros, Smederovo, Lom, Calaraşi etc.), or the economy of these towns has been based on the other features of the river (e.g. Komárom/Komarno, Nyergesújfalu, Paks, Orsova, Vidin, Kozloduy etc.). In the aftermaths of the collapse of the communist regimes and the Soviet Union and the blockade of the traffic due to the crisis of ex-Yugoslavia, the role of the Danubian transport line was changed radically (Hardi 2012). Due to these changes and the emergence of the new economy, the function and situation of these towns transformed in the last two decades. Some of them could use the new possibilities, but many of them lost their economic basis and population, becoming a peripheral region or town. Our paper gives a comparative study about the features of the Danube towns, and characterizes the typical development ways of the riparian towns. The present study summarizes the experiences of an academic exchange programme among Romanian, Bulgarian and Hungarian institutions.

Volume XII |

Non-realised plans for the enlargement of the Danubian waterway

Abstract: There is a widespread belief these days that the Danube River is a waterway which is by far underutilised. This is usually attributed to the problems blocking navigation on the river (mostly on the Hungarian section), and to the missing regulations of the navigation routes. We have to add, however, that there are many other factors that set back the development of navigation, including the endowments of our economy that result in limited demand for water transportation. Also, several further economic, geopolitical and geographical endowments contribute to the low level of utilisation. The starting point of our paper is that the Danube River now offers one single long navigation route. The competitiveness of this route is decreased by the fact that no waterway network has been established in the last two hundred years that could have made river transportation more rationally usable. Think of the navigability of the tributaries, the connecting and branch canals, and multimodal ports (connected to railway and road transportation). Because of all these factors, no macro-regional economy was created at the adequate time, built on water transportation. Think of the fact that one single long railway line of motorway, without junctions and connections, cannot be operated economically, either, it will not become a system and its regional development impact will remain limited. Our paper focuses on those experiments that were made to contribute to the network development of the Danube River water system, with exact plans. Many of them were realistic plans in their days, but could not be realised because of the competition of railway, lack of capital or for geopolitical reasons.