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Bishop's Square different from expectations

02 of February '22

On February 7 this year, the technical acceptance of Bishop's Square will be carried out. A realization whose completion has been protracted for many years. There are critical voices about the final shape, although the city argues that we will see the effects in full in the spring, when the square turns green.

część parkowa stanowi największą strefę placu Biskupiego

The park part is the largest zone of Biskupi Square

© Press materials of the Board of Roads of the City of Cracow

long history of construction work

Biskupi Square, located between Adam Asnyk and Krowoderska streets, had long been haunted by a neglected above-ground parking lot. In the first plans, the city authorities planned to build an underground parking lot in this place. Numerous residents protested against this decision, which resulted in the withdrawal of the idea.

The next idea was already to create a public space consisting of a greened square, a playground and a city square. The first tender for the reconstruction of Biskupi Square was awarded in January 2019 . The Board of Roads of the City of Krakow signed a contract for the amount of PLN 4,888,346. The work was to be finally completed at the end of October 2019.

plac zabaw stanowi nie wielki fragment całego założenia

The playground is not a big part of the whole establishment

© Press materials of the Board of Roads of the City of Krakow

Work within the square continued to be prolonged. The magistrate pointed out the need for repair work on power grids, then there was the issue of obtaining permits for setting up equipment on the playground. Subsequent deadlines for completing the work were set, until at the end of 2020 the city broke the contract with the contractor. Inventories were then carried out and a new tender was issued. Eventually, the playground was completed, except for the planting of greenery, which will take place in the spring.

uninspiring result

Bishop Square has been divided into three zones. On the side of Adam Asnyk Street is the park section, with new benches, trash garbage cans and plantings. It includes a square named after Aleksander Biborski, an architect from the turn of the 20th century. The magistrate stresses that the park section is the largest.

Another part of Bishop's Square is the playground located in the middle of the establishment. It features trampolines, a play wall or a place to draw with chalk. This is the smallest part of the square. The amount of play equipment is small.

trudno znaleźć jakąkolwiek funkcje dla betonowego placu

It is difficult to find any function for the concrete square

© Press materials of the Board of Roads of the City of Cracow

The last zone is the city square, which arouses the most controversy. The large concrete square is equipped with benches, a small fountain and lighting. It's hard to say what this square is supposed to serve - it's too small to serve any function other than as a resting place, which on a hot day will end up as another urban heat island from which users will want to hide in the park part. The trees that have been or are to be planted will not provide shade for the next ten or even fifteen years. How is a concrete slab supposed to create an attractive place for residents?

Were there any sensible arguments in favor of creating a city square? Perhaps it was worth increasing the playground and the park section that would surround it? In the face of inexorable climate change, the priority should be to create space to prevent urban heat islands, concretions and lack of biologically active space. The experience of the Leone Aucoc square in Bordeaux by Lacation&Vassal should show the direction of public space design.

The magistrate announces the official presentation of Bishop's Square this spring, that is, when new plantings will appear in the square and the trees will leaf out. It remains to be hoped that Bishop's Square will be at least a little greener.

na placu mają znaleźć się nowe nasadzenia na wiosnę

The square is expected to see new plantings in the spring

© Press materials of the Cracow City Roads Authority

Wiktor Bochenek

The vote has already been cast