ULI Poland: In the digital era, cities need public spaces more than ever
The third PLACES + SPACES was dedicated to discussing trends in developing public spaces in Poland and worldwide.
The GROW with WARSAW series of workshops is organized by the Office of Architecture and Spatial Planning, the Economic Development Office of the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw, and the Urban Land Institute Poland.
The fourth of six Grow with Warsaw workshops organized by the City of Warsaw and ULI Poland took place in June 2018 and was devoted to public space and green infrastructure.
Representatives from the City of Warsaw met with real estate industry professionals to discuss a host of issues relating to public space and infrastructure including:
* The responsibility to create public spaces in the city – is it the responsibility of the city authorities or investors as part of development projects?
* Who has an interest in making spaces available to public?
* How can the city demonstrate to private companies that investing in public spaces and green infrastructure is a good investment? What financing instruments or tools are available for such developments?
* Do public spaces always need private investors?
* How is construction financed?
* What systemic solutions are needed?
Experts agreed that new ideas are needed for public spaces, “spaces for people” in the city. While spaces for commercial tenants or paying clients are commendable, truly public spaces, spaces available at different times and welcoming to different age groups, are critical pieces of the urban fabric.
As people spend increasingly more time outside and enjoy outdoor activities, the need for such public places becomes more pressing.
An entire network of “spaces for people” can be a tremendous asset to a city.
In Warsaw’s public realm, the public space network includes the Vistula River Boulevards, Grzybowski Square and the reconstruction on Świętokrzyska Street, and local investments such as the Służew Culture Centre, Neighbourhood Centre in Szmulowizna, and Praga Hearth. In the realm of private investments, developers have also created successful public spaces, often designed as public squares between buildings. To-date, there have been no joint public/private public space initiatives in Warsaw. There is a movement, however, to change that for the benefit of Warsaw residents and users of commercial buildings.
Karolina Kaim, a member of the Executive Committee of ULI Poland, said that public spaces are a guarantee of the city’s existence.
Kaim also noted that it is necessary to involve private companies in creating public spaces in Warsaw, as such places help residents enjoy a better quality of life. Pointing to examples from other cities around the world, Kaim discussed multi-year, multi-hectare projects that were built successfully through the cooperation of the private and public sectors. These projects have become showcase spaces for their cities and can serve as an inspiration for Warsaw’s public space development going forward.
Reports from the workshop to be downloaded
The GROW with WARSAW workshops are organized by the Office of Architecture and Spatial Planning, the Economic Development Office of the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw, and the Urban Land Institute Poland.
GROW with WARSAW Knowledge Partners:
BNP Paribas Real Estate, CBRE, Colliers International, Cushman & Wakefield, JLL, Knight Frank, Savills.
Legal Knowledge Partner: Dentons
Reports from the previous GROW with WARSAW workshops may be found here: http://architektura.um.warszawa.pl