Abstract 02JSSP022023

Legacies of Displacement from the Iron Gates Hydroelectric Project

Remus CREŢAN*1, Thomas O’BRIEN2, Claudia Ionela VĂRAN ŢENCHE1, Fabian TIMOFTE1
* Corresponding author
1 West University of Timișoara, Faculty of Chemistry, Biology and Geography, Department of Geography, Timișoara, ROMANIA
2 University of York, Department of Sociology, Heslington, York, UNITED KINGDOM
E-mail: remus.cretan@e-uvt.ro; ORCID: 0000-0002-9053-8394 
E-mail: t.obrien@york.ac.uk; ORCID: 0000-0002-5031-736X
E-mail: claudia.varan89@gmail.com; ORCID: 0009-0009-7951-7662
E-mail: fabian.timofte@e-uvt.ro; ORCID: 0000-0002-6384-7255
Pages: 67-77. DOI: 10.24193/JSSP.2023.2.02

Cite: Creţan R., O’Brien T., Văran Ţenche C. I., Timofte F. (2023), Legacies of Displacement from the Iron Gates Hydroelectric Project. Journal of Settlements and Spatial Planning, 14(2), 67-77. DOI: 10.24193/JSSP.2023.2.02

Abstract. Construction of the Iron Gates I hydroelectric project on the Danube River between 1966-1972 was the result of collaboration between Romania and Yugoslavia. The scale of the project resulted in the permanent displacement and relocation of several communities along the river. The aim of this article is to consider how vulnerability among the displaced communities manifested and the lasting effects this has had on efforts to adapt to life in new locations. The article draws on archival research to examine the contemporaneous processes and decision-making around the construction. It then presents the results of a survey of displaced residents conducted more than 40 years after relocation to identify how displacement was experienced, as well as its lasting effects. The results suggest that the different forms of vulnerability within the community that hampered adaptation continued to shape the community long after the displacement event. They also point to the aggregating nature of vulnerability, as efforts at adaptation continued to be shaped by the interaction of social, economic, and geographical factors.

K e y w o r d s: displacement, social vulnerability, adaptation, Iron Gates, Romania