Kompleksowe podejście do rewitalizacji A comprehensive approach to revitalisation
The industrial wastelands with the chance for second life. This is the conclusion from the panel during the conference “Towards a green economy” moderated by dr Robert Pollock, senior advisor to the Secretariat of the European Commission’s Platform for Coal Regions in Transition.
Two – days conference, initiated by the Marshal Jakub Chełstowski, takes place at the International Congress Centre in Katowice. The Culture Zone in Katowice is located on the industrial wastelands and is an excellent example of successful transformation, which was mentioned by Chistopher Todd, Head of Unit from the Directorate-General of the Regional and Urban Policy.
“This place proves that it is essential to think of revitalisation in advance. The key is in the preparation of revitalisation strategy, identification of weaknesses and strengths and preparation of good projects. Revitalisation won’t be successful if the social aspect is not considered, it is necessary to involve people in this project” – underlined Christopher Todd.
In the discussion participated, among others, Andrea Liverani, Tadej Špitalar, Marta Slavikova, Marta Pogrzeba and Paul Boutsen. The good practices in the area of revitalisation of urban areas were presented by the representatives from Silesian region, the Mayor of Zabrze Małgorzata Mańka-Szulik, the Mayor of Żory Waldemar Socha and the Vice-Mayor of Katowice Mariusz Skiba.
“Zabrze was the city of heavy industry, we went through a long journey and without the European Funds we wouldn’t manage. Revitalisation is not only about the infrastructure, but also the social aspects. We succeed in revitalising great area in the city centre, but there is much to be done, the ownership issues of these areas is a particularly big challenge. Zabrze is considered as the capital of post-industrial tourism, but it is worth to remember that we invested in the Guido Mine PLN 200 million, and the city budget is PLN 1 billion” – explained Małgorzata Mańka-Szulik.
The Vice-Mayor of Katowice Mariusz Skiba commented in the same tone underlining that it is necessary to improve the life quality in the city.
“We have rich experience in this area. The change of industry monoculture for the economic variety showed us the problem of demography, but we were aware of those challenges since the beginning. I believe, that our experiences are the examples of successful transformation for others. It is important to engage the local people, the residents should identify themselves with the city in which they live and work, that’s why better quality of life and more funds for revitalisation are necessary” – said Vice-Mayor Mariusz Skiba.
Waldemar Socha, Mayor of Żory, reminded that his city had to face the challenge of transformation as one of the first in the region - after the collapse of mines and other workplaces in the 1990s, unemployment in the city reached almost 30%. Thanks to the then decision to join the emerging Katowice Special Economic Zone, it was possible to attract new investors to the city, thanks to which new jobs were gradually created and the problem of unemployment practically ceased to exist in the city today. At the same time, the city authorities consistently made sure that people not only wanted to work but also live in Żory.
In turn, professor Marta Pogrzeba from the Institute of Ecology of Industrial Areas in Katowice, which is the only Polish member of the board of the European Commission mission in the area of "Healthy Soil and Food" under the Horizon Europe Research and Development Program (2021-2027), drew attention to the importance of is soil care also in post-industrial areas and what opportunities are opening up for regions under the program.
In the last statement, Paul Boutsen, expert from transitLAB underlined the necessity of regional cooperation and sharing experiences between regions as a key factor to more innovative and better revitalisation projects.
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