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Debetonation? It comes out better in small steps

27 of October '22

Despite differing opinions on whether we are moving out of the concrete era into the green era, or continuing to be stuck in concrete shoes, it's hard not to notice a shift in thinking. In our focus on observing the disappearance of greenery in large urban squares, we may not notice that the evolution is taking place in a completely different place.

We are all well aware of examples of concretization in Polish public spaces. We have more than once described on our portal examples of changes to urban squares, which, certainly in the era of climate change, can hardly be considered a properly carried out adaptation. Whether we are dealing with a change in thinking or stagnation can be discussed at will, but the real observation of change comes from another direction. A few examples of "quiet debetonation", can make us realize where the potential is.

Bydgoszcz critical mass

The process of debetonation should not only not start with the main squares and markets, which is often due to the need for more money, but small passages, too wide roadways and sidewalks clad with unnecessary paving stones, which only degrade over time, and around them grow plants fighting for every ray of sunlight. Sometimes a walk is all it takes to find several places in our immediate vicinity whose debonairization would depend only on political will.

An example of this can be found in Bydgoszcz. Residents, led by the association Social Pedestrian Advocate, have submitted projects to remove unnecessary concrete where it serves no significant function. Such efforts have already resulted in the removal of two hundred square meters of concrete, and this is just the beginning.

In Bydgoszcz, the civic budget contributed to the debetonation

In Bydgoszcz, the civic budget contributed to the debetonation

© Association of the Social Advocate for Pedestrians

warsaw green fund

Public-private cooperation can be bumpy, but at the same time it produces results. Warsaw City Hall has created an opportunity for private companies to support greenery through the Green Fund for Warsaw. A company finances deboning in this way, for example, as happened a few days ago. With this kind of solution, however, it is hard not to forget what greenwashing is, and the fact that private companies should not whitewash themselves PR-wise with such funds. The inclusion of private entities in the greenwashing process, however, is noteworthy and requires constant observation.

In Warsaw, debetonation may also be available through public-private cooperation

In Warsaw, debetonation may also be available through public-private cooperation. The effects are worth watching

© Warsaw Urban Greenery Management Board

lodz debetonation of trees

The question of why history likes to repeat itself and why mankind must constantly reinvent the wheel fits perfectly with concrete cages for urban trees. Tiling a tree almost all the way to the trunk is still a familiar practice that we encounter everywhere. Fortunately, we are entering an "enlightenment" after the "Dark Ages era," as exemplified by the approach of the residents of Lodz's Teofilow district, where a local chestnut tree got rid of its concrete fetters. It is worth reminding ourselves that a tree, however, needs space, and even a small flowerbed makes it possible to introduce greenery into the city space.

De-treeing is an important factor in undoing stupid decisions.

De-concretizing trees is an important factor in undoing foolish decisions.


krakow swap - a tree and an advertisement

Krakow's Board of Urban Greening boasted an unusual swap. Well, a coniferous tree was planted in the place where an advertisement stood until recently. Two positive effects in the form of the effect of advertising resolution and debonairization. The pine tree can perform important functions for the urban space, from retention, cooling the environment to financial savings. In addition, it will also help stop the effect of turning Krakow into a desert, which the owners of advertising carriers (including those like this one here) warned us about. Of course, one swallow does not make a spring, and we hope to see such swaps more often.

Krakow made a swap - gave a tree and took away advertising

Krakow made a swap - gave a tree and took away an ad

© Zarząd Zieleni Miejskiej w Krakowie

a recipe for change?

Moving on to a summary, it is worth noting the inductiveness of these processes. The transition from small, sometimes for our imagination insignificant places to large urban squares, arteries or avenues is only a matter of time. Why not start with small steps toward big changes that will be easier for opponents and political decision-makers to swallow?

compiled by Wiktor Bochenek

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