-This place isn’t like the rest of Romania, says 28 year old Irina Cozma, a manager at the corporate department of Orange, the telecom company, about the gated community in which she lives. She describes Cosmopolis as “a nice quiet place” unlike the rest of Bucharest. She has lived here for 6 years now, and shares her apartment with seven Maltese dogs – that take up all of her time off work. One of them is the Champion of Romania, and a number of neighboring countries.

I am currently working on a project in Bucharest, as part of an artist residency program to which a number of Nordic photographers were invited in order to study various “microtopias” found in the Romanian capital.

The idea is that the city contains  a large number of these microtopias – little separate worlds within the city.  I chose to work inside one of the numerous gated communities in the north, which are home to the middle and upper classes of Bucharest.

So why would anyone care about the Romanian middle and upper classes that chose to fence themselves in in distant ghettos surrounded by farmland and connected to the city by overcrowded,  under-dimensioned, and sometimes not even paved roads?

Romania is one of Europe’s poorest countries. Romanians are quick to identify and complain about the problems that hold the country back. The main one being corrupt politicians. There is an enormous divide between the countryside and the cities. And it is in the northern outskirts of Bucharest where the better educated and generally better off Romanians are found. Engineers, lawyers, business people and doctors. Many of them working for big multinational companies.

Cosmopolis, located some 15km north of the city center, is not the richest of these communities, but the biggest of them. It currently houses around 3500 people in 2000 units (apartment blocks, two-family homes and one family villas). The entire project is for 10 000 units if it is ever fully built.

The people I have met here, are those who have the intellectual capital to turn the country away from corruption and bad political decisions. They understand the value and necessity of good education. If they stay in Romania, they are the key to a brighter future for their country.



Irina Cozma, with some of her dogs. Photographer Chris Maluszynski /Moment