The Timișoara Growth Pole is currently the largest human agglomeration in western Romania (407,112 inhabitants with domicile, on July 1st, 2014), its urban nucleus, Timișoara, being the second city of the country as economic force (about 1.4 billion lei being the 2015 expenditure budget, equivalent to about 315 million euros) and the third according to the number of inhabitants, with 333,531, on July 1st, 2014 (insse.ro, 2015).
Structuring a coherent portfolio of policies and integrated development projects, at the level of the urban core and its area of influence, is vital in order to strengthen the position of the Timişoara Growth Pole in the national urban system, but especially to increase the socio-economic competitiveness of Romania in the space of the European Union.
It is justified to consider Timișoara one of the most dynamic national growth poles, because of the extent of its functions, the geographic and geopolitical position of strategic importance for the Romanian space and the efficient organization of its external relations. Over the past 30 years, the city has proven to be the most attractive centre in the western half of Romania for foreign direct investments and to capitalize on the local entrepreneurial initiative or the one attracted from abroad. This has led to a rapid restructuring of the city’s inherited economic profile, which has lost much of the sub-sector of heavy industry, and has focused on activities in the tertiary industrial sector, strengthening its service sector in particular. The growth of the lohn activities in the first place has created more and more room for complex production, in which the local natural, intellectual and technological potential are used together with the financial and management ones attracted from abroad.
Over the past 25 years, the city has had ample international perspectives, favoured by the specific multicultural character of Banat and the advantages of its geographic position (in the west of the country, near the borders with Hungary and Serbia, close to major economic development centres in Austria, northern Italy and southern Germany). Timișoara is already one of the most cosmopolitan cities of Romania, frequented by many businessmen, with strong connections to their home areas. The circulation of ideas and people is facilitated especially by the Timișoara International Airport (0.7 million passengers in 2014), the country’s third air hub, after Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca.
On a national level, Timișoara has been declared the largest polarizing centre in the Western region. This was documented by G.D. no. 998/ 27.08.2008 for the designation of the national growth poles in which priority is given to investments from the programs with community and national funding, Timișoara being declared the Growth Pole in the Western region.
The delineation of the Timișoara Growth Pole was created on the basis of a set of principles relevant to regional development and territory planning, namely the principles of subsidiarity, processuality and the sustainability of territory arrangement decisions. The diagnostic analysis based on a carefully selected set of criteria highlighted the fact that the urbanizing influence of the Timișoara city is currently taking place in the first ring of communes around it.
From the administrative and territorial point of view, the Timișoara Growth Pole comprises an urban centre (the Timișoara Municipality) and its area of influence, respectively 14 rural administrative-territorial units (Becicherecu Mic, Bucovăţ, Dudeştii Noi, Dumbrăviţa, Ghiroda, Giarmata, Giroc, Moşniţa Nouă, Orţişoara, Pişchia, Remetea Mare, Săcălaz, Sînmihaiu Român, Şag) and the delimitation of the area of influence of the Timișoara Growth Pole was approved by Local Council Decision no. 387/2008.
Timișoara is located at the confluence of the West and the East, influenced by the various ethnic communities, especially the German, Hungarian and Serbian communities. Timișoara (Temeschwar in German) was and is a multicultural space, a multi-ethnic cultural interference and convergence area, with a wide perspective and multiple advantages, both economic and cultural.
During the time of the Austrian Empire, Timișoara was under Vienna’s direct domination, creating a social middle class and a stable economic structure. Despite the 40 years of communist domination, the initiative and the sense of responsibility of the people have been preserved until the present.
The Timișoara Growth Pole is situated at the intersection of the parallel of 45° 47′ north latitude with the meridian of 21° 17′ east longitude, being located in the northern hemisphere at almost equal distances from the north pole and the equator and in the eastern hemisphere.
The total area covered by the Timişoara Growth Pole is approximately 108,031 ha – of which 13,003.87 ha represent the administrative territory of the Timișoara municipality and 95,027.13 ha the influence area of the municipality – occupying approximately 3.4% of the West Development region and 12.5% of the total area of the Timiș County.
At the 2002 census, the stable population of the Timişoara Growth Pole was 369,854 inhabitants. The population density is 2622 inhabitants/ sq. km. The population distribution by sex is the following: 52.63% female and 47.37% male. The active population is 43.28% (92.38% employed and 7.62% unemployed) and the inactive population 56.72% (39.68% pupils and students, 37.15% pensioners, 23.17% other situations).
The Timișoara Growth Pole has a moderate continental temperate climate, characteristic of the south-eastern part of the Pannonian Depression, with some sub-Mediterranean influences (Adriatic variant). The average annual temperature is 10.6° C, the warmest month being July (21.1° C), resulting in an average thermal amplitude of 22.7° C.
Situated in the southeast of the Tisa Plain, in the divergence area of the Timiș and Bega rivers, the Timișoara Growth Pole has a remarkably monotonous relief, the smoothness of the plain being interrupted only by the shallow bed of the Bega River (artificially made, through sewerage). In detail, however, the relief of the city and its surroundings presents a number of local peculiarities, expressed from an altitude point of view by uneven, yet modest deviations, which do not exceed 2-3 m anywhere.
Local time (considered by meridian) is 1h 25′ 8” in advance from the time zone of meridian 0, Greenwich, but is delayed by 34’52” from the official time zone of Romania (Oriental Europe Time).
After 2001, the development trends of the Romanian economy were also felt in Timișoara in various economic fields. Thus, the economy evolved in different directions. While agriculture is steadily declining, some industries such as machinery and equipment construction, metal and electro-technical processing have seen significant growth.
This dynamics is based on attracting foreign investors in Timișoara ever since the beginning of the transition, based on a pragmatic, committed and constant policy to encourage investment.
The total of the foreign investments attracted by Timișoara since 1990 is higher than in the rest of the country.