In the evolution of each science, there are moments of grace and of incertitude, of explosive affirmation and of easy-going meandering, synonymous to stagnation or, not rarely, even to some crisis intervals. The effervescent periods follow, without exception, the innovation in the field, the launching of new theories and paradigms, the creation of new directions of investigation, the introduction of some more efficient methods and technologies, by means of which the old obstacles are usually surpassed.
Looking in a detached and impartial manner at the present state of the science of the four terrestrial layers, Geography, we ascertain, without any doubt, that it is found in a favourable moment of its evolution, when the horizons of its affirmation are borderless and its social importance is amplifying. Even its servants stopped asking themselves rhetorically “what Geography is”, preferring to combat successfully in the arena of the so inciting desiderata of its branches and sub-branches.
Thus, we ascertain with satisfaction the opening of our science towards a new field, with numerous applicative valences, the one of regional development. A field of interference, of imbrication between several sciences, on whose field, geographers, architects, economists, engineers or sociologists frequently meet, collaborating or, on the contrary, involving themselves in a harsh competition.
In this case, we, the geographers, have an advantage that we must impose to everybody, alike a postulate, that is, the acquaintance with the field, which is the material support of any initiative of spatial planning or arrangement, of any development strategy. Not unjustly, but confirming the reality of the above-mentioned facts, the Committee of Ministers responsible for Spatial Planning from the member states of the European Union stipulates in the Territorial Agenda 2007 entitled “Towards a More Competitive and Sustainable Europe of Diverse Regions”, that “under cohesion policy, geography matters”.
From this point of view, the Geography from the University of Cluj-Napoca is ready to assume some of the most difficult and complex responsibilities. The experience gained in the latest decade by our researchers in elaborating projects such as PATIJ (ICSAP - Inter-County Spatial Arrangement Plan – 1997-1999), PATR (RSAP - North-West Region Spatial Arrangement Plan – 2000-2004), Zonal Spatial Arrangement Plan – The Peri-urban of the Municipality of Bistriţa (2005-2006), Local Development Strategy of the Municipality of Craiova (2006-2007), Analysis of the Present State of Territorial Development Tendencies in the Romanian Tisa Basin ( 2006-2007), etc, is acknowledged not only by the specialists is Geography but also by the specialists in the sciences which assume, with more or less doubtful reason, the mastering of the “keys” for deciphering the unknown of the respective field.
The review entitled Geographia Napocensis, edited by the Geography Team of the Cluj-Napoca Branch of the Romanian Academy, starts on its way in such a context, therefore under fertile auspices as regards Geography’s role and mission. We are convinced that in the studies that the review will host between its covers, both the feverish searches for evolution of phenomena and processes taking place in the geosphere, and the solutions required by human necessities, by human communities, will be encountered. May it have a long and upward way!
Prof. univ. dr. Pompei Cocean
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