Bruce O’Neill

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Saint Louis U.

Grant number

Gr. 9351

Approve Date

October 5, 2016

Project Title

O'Neill, Dr. Bruce Terrence, St. Louis U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'The Underground: Urbanism and its Roots in Romania'

BRUCE TERRENCE O’NEILL, St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded a grant in October 2016 to aid research on “The Underground: Urbanism and its Roots in Romania.” This project, based upon fieldwork in Romania, investigates the production and expansion of underground urbanism in Bucharest. Following Romania’s accession into the European Union in 2007, a wave of Foreign Direct Investment into Bucharest has given shape to new middle classes whose turn towards auto mobility congested roadways, clogged sidewalks with illegally parked cars, and polluted the air. Amidst growing concerns about Bucharest’s dysfunction, city planners and corporate managers converged to invest billions of euros to produce subterranean transportation, commercial, and residential spaces to accommodate the new middle classes. While much research has been conducted to examine how economic development presses the vulnerable outward toward an ever more distant periphery, and the well-to-do upward into higher skylines, this project takes Bucharest’s ongoing efforts at modernization as an opportunity to ask how and to what effect urban development is bearing down upon the global middle classes in ways that press them literally underground.


O’Neill, Bruce. 2020. Segmenting the City: McDonald’s, the Metro, and the Mobilization of the Middle Classes Underground. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space: SAGE. Published online.