76% of Romanians live in a city or in a suburban area and these areas generate 97% of Romania’s economic output (calculated using the new global methodology for degree of urbanization). Getting urbanization right does not benefit only urban residents and the country’s growth, but also the remaining 24% of the population who should have equal access to opportunities offered by cities, from fast and high-quality transport, to access to education, jobs, healthcare facilities and various venues for leisure activities.
For decades, Romanian cities have had many things to be proud of. Back in the early 1900s Bucharest, the capital city, was dubbed “Little Paris”, due to the many French influences on local architecture and society, and to its replica of the famous Arc de Triomphe. In central Romania, in the mountains, the small town of Sinaia hosts the first European castle entirely lit by electric current, the Peleș Castle, built in 1888. One year later, Timișoara, located in Western Romania, became the first city in Europe to have electric street lighting.