W 8 Pytań Dookoła Miasta zaczyna od Katowic
Katowice chcą w 8 lat pokryć całe miasto planami planistycznymi – ULI rozpoczyna cykl spotkań „W 8 pytań dookoła miasta”
Eight cities, eight mayors, eight questions. ULI has organised a series of meetings under the title ‘Around the City in 8 Questions’. The first to go into the firing line is Katowice, a city that is transforming itself from an icon of the coal industry into a modern resident-friendly urban area with a knowledge-based economy centred around modern services.
The event is organised by the Polish council of the Urban Land Institute, a non-profit organisation of 45,000 developers, urban planners, architects and local government representatives. “The ULI is a natural partner in such talks talks, as its main mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and to create and sustain thriving communities worldwide. We support planning and development of resilient, vibrant and competitive urban areas by sharing proven methods from all over the world and enabling the exchange of experience between business and public administration representatives.” says Dorota Wysokińska-Kuzdra, a senior partner at Colliers and the chair of ULI Poland and a member of the ULI Europe executive committee.
From a global perspective
“Covid-19 has had an unprecedented global impact on cities across the world. The United Nations with UN Habitat at the lead needs to look ahead in order to grasp the long-term impact this event will have on cities and people. The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted the need to rethink urban planning and development strategies. Local authorities, including mayors, are at the front line and the UN Habitat has worked very vigorously with them to understand how they must bring in balanced measures to stop the pandemic from spreading, as well as build more sustainable cities that are resilient to the pandemic, climate change and other global challenges. The World Urban Forum to be hosted in Katowice in June 2022 will be a great opportunity for building a strong network as well as our partnership for action,” she points out.
Katowice on the road to transformation
Katowice is where ULI Poland has begun its series of interviews, in which it talks to the mayors of Poland’s largest cities. The regional capital of the Silesia district is often viewed as an industrial and mining city that is struggling with demographic challenges, pollution and the redevelopment of former industrial land. The city has, however, begun the process of transforming itself and redefining its identity. “One key area for us is improving the quality of life for our residents. We want to do this through such measures as improving the air quality (subsidising changes to how buildings are heated, modernising the insulation in public buildings, running educational campaigns) engaging local people (a participatory budget, a green budget, and the wCOP drzewo and NaprawMy To applications) and running programmes specifically to meet residents’ needs (namely the KATOobywatel and Katowicka Karta Mieszkańca programmes). We are also administering long-term investment programmes especially in sustainable mobility (public transport, new city parking policies) and also in sports and recreational facilities (a city stadium),” says Marcin Krupa, the Mayor of Katowice. The mayor has also announced that over the next few years Katowice can count on major civil engineering work for its transport infrastructure including the reconstruction of the DK 81 (including the Giszowiec and Piotrowice junctions), the reconstruction of the east-bound exit road for the DTŚ motorway and the extension of ul. Stęślickiego on to al. Korfantego which will then lead on to Siemianowice Śląskie and Czeladź. The construction of a tram line is also being planned in the south of the city as well as of the Kostuchna transport hub.
Together with the changes in the infrastructure, there are also changes afoot for the city’s economy. You do not need all the fingers of one hand to count all of the city’s working mines. In the city centre, skyscrapers are rising up and heavy industry is being replaced by a modern service industry based on knowledge. “We have to think of the future and build up opportunities for development both for our city and the region, which is why one of the most important investment projects in the near financial term will be the construction of the Katowice Gaming and Technology Hub on the site of the former KWK Wieczorek mine in the historic Nikiszowiec district. This project is going to involve the private sector from the gaming, e-sport and new technology industries. We also want to make use of funds from the EU’s Just Transition Fund,” the city mayor adds and declares that the planned financial investment has already been secured and that the city intends to make up some of the financial shortfall caused by the pandemic crisis by applying for funding from the European Union.
100% planned over eight years
To invest effectively, urban plans are also necessary as well as clear provisions in the zoning plan. Katowice is a city where construction development is forbidden on almost half of the land, which includes forests, green areas and parks. “Around 68 pct of the land not categorised as forest for the city of Katowice is covered by an urban development plan. Around 43 pct of the land in our city is categorised as forest. This space places a significant limitation on current city planning. Looking at the same data for just the area within the city limits, 28 pct of the land under an urban development plan, while work on urban plans will cover almost 60 pct of the city’s space,” adds the mayor of Katowice. He states that these plans should be passed over the next four years, and the city could realistically be fully covered by such plans in eight years. City hall is also planning a new study for the further development of the zoning plans, which should be ready at the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.
What will Katowice be like in 2050?
Although planning over a thirty-year term might seem senseless, especially in a time of rapid technological progress, we can try and say something of importance today about the long-term development of the city. “Over the next 30 years, the central part of Katowice should better meet its requirements as the centre of the GZM Metropolis urban area, while at the same time become more friendly to pedestrians with a more ecologically friendly urban character. The construction of tall quality buildings along the main communication routes will give the city centre an identifiable character both from the point of view of those driving along the roads as well as for those on foot, such as those in the reconstructed green areas along the river Rawa, which cut through the centre of the city. These areas will also include bicycle paths and new green squares on former industrial land as well as on the grounds of the Universities.
Further into the future, the city centre will fill with apartment and service construction sites providing an even coverage (especially in the former industrial areas),” predicts Marcin Krupa. “On the other hand, the city’s residential and service areas are sure to be further developed with more apartments over the next 30 years, because of their attractive city locations, but such development will be significantly less intensive than in the city’s central areas. Connecting these areas with their neighbouring woodlands and also improving their public transportation links with the centre will make them some of the city’s most attractive districts. Today, however, this is one of the most difficult urban development tasks facing the city,” he adds. At the same time, he stresses that despite the relatively intensive new construction work, new constructions, as well as renovations and conversions, should fulfil the highest energy efficiency requirements and be as self-sufficient as possible with their electricity and water (using greywater and stored rainwater) and that they should also incorporate greenery within their structure to counteract the urban island heat effect. In turn, transportation policy is to further improve access to public transport (which includes all forms such as elevated, alternative and rail) especially around the city centre and along the main north-south and east-west routes.