Baia Mare

Sustainable use of land and nature based solutions

SPIRE - Smart Post-Industrial Regenerative Ecosystem

Baia Mare joins the club of European Innovative Cities proposing a revolutionary approach to the reuse of heavy metal-contaminated land in the city, through adaptive phytoremediation and the creation of new urban ecosystems, as a long-term strategy for sustainable local economic development.

Dr. Ec. Cătălin Cherecheş, Mayor of Baia Mare
The project in numbers
7.15
hectares of contaminated land included in a phytoremediation and renaturing process
250
youth beneficiaries and 3000 citizens involved
3
bio-based start-ups using biomass for innovative applications in the construction industry
10
10 citizen-led eco-initiatives
EUR 2 611 840.4
Total ERDF budget granted
Challenge addressed

Baia Mare’s industrial past in the mining and metallurgical sector left circa 627 hectares of land polluted by heavy metals (up to 5 times the acceptable value) within the metropolitan area, which are now disconnected from the urban framework and a danger to the inhabitants and the environment. SPIRE’s challenge is to test an integrated, innovative strategy capable of:
- Recovering contaminated land and starting a long-term phytoremediation and land revalorisation process; 
- Co-creating new bio-based development models and novel solutions to pressing urban issues, like housing insulation or carbon emissions reduction;  
- Finding alternatives to fossil fuel to foster sustainable energy transition; 
- Supporting participation and a behavioural shift, leveraging on novel digital solutions to reward environmentally friendly actions. 

Solution proposed

SPIRE will start in Baia Mare a long-term redevelopment through the co-development of new adaptive and productive landscapes, integrated into a circular ecosystem of cascading material and energy value chains. 
SPIRE will activate a critical mass of stakeholders and open a Hub in the city centre for co-design and mentoring activities. A GIS Dynamic Atlas and a Remediation Toolkit will be developed to support co-design and implementation processes for renaturing and phytoremediation of the 7.15 ha pilot sites. An innovative iLEU local digital token system will reward civic environmental behaviour, involvement and eco-entrepreneurship.
SPIRE will develop a bio-based circular ecosystem in Baia Mare, using the Hub to co-create final designs of the landscape and phytoremediation pilots, and implementing these actions in 5 very different locations. Biomass yields of the renaturalisation actions will be used in two cascading value chains: 1) to produce energy for a public building, and 2) in carbon-neutral experimental materials with construction / industrial applications, co-developed with young entrepreneurs who will be mentored in the SPIRE Hub. iLEU will incentivize further adoption of NBS at local level. 
Finally, a Life Cycle Assessment will evaluate the SPIRE value chains, and a co-designed Metropolitan 2050 strategy will upscale the approach.

Partnership
  • Baia Mare Municipality
  • Transilvania Branch of the Romanian Association for Electronic Industry and Software - associaton
  • Green Energy Association
  • University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Cluj-Napoca - university
  • Baia Mare Metropolitan Area - local authority
  • URBASOFIA SRL - private company
  • Indeco Soft - private company
Expected result

From the social point of view, SPIRE will stimulate awareness, knowledge and capacities related to environmental sustainability in order to actively engage and involve the citizenry and local stakeholders in the co-creation and embedding of a shared system of values aiming at a shift in the overall behaviour, attitude, and relationships between actors, towards an eco-friendly culture and a widespread collective ownership of SPIRE’s goals and activities.
From an environmental point of view, SPIRE will overall reclaim ca. 7 ha of polluted and/or unused public land through an adaptive agenda able to deliver both short and long-term results. Combining landscaping design with the adoption of phytoremediation techniques will not only renature and reconnect such areas with the urban system but also trigger a long-term brownfields’ remediation process and foster a “land-hold” strategy for future development ambitions/goals. 
From an economic point of view, SPIRE will capitalise on underused local resources in order to stimulate the development of new green-economy activities. This will result in the generation of a bio-based energy supply and the start-up and incubation of new businesses dedicated to the prototyping and production of innovative construction materials, with the ultimate effect of reducing the overall GHG emissions in Baia Mare.

Main milestones

June 2020: delivery of the Remediation Toolkit; inauguration of SPIRE’s Hub within Casa Schreiber
November 2020: launch of iLEU and start of the landscaping and phytoremediation of the Pilot Projects
May 2021: First prototypes for the experimental bio-based materials for sustainable energy districts
September 2021: Incubator for Start-up Green Businesses
March 2022: Delivery and establishment of brownfield-to-bioenergy local value stream 
July 2022: Masterplan for the Baia Mare Metropolitan Area 2050; Final Assessment Report 

The project in numbers
7.15
hectares of contaminated land included in a phytoremediation and renaturing process
250
youth beneficiaries and 3000 citizens involved
3
bio-based start-ups using biomass for innovative applications in the construction industry
10
10 citizen-led eco-initiatives
EUR 2 611 840.4
Total ERDF budget granted
Contact of the project
Dorin Miclăuș
Project manager
Amaya Celaya Alvarez
UIA Expert

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