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"Old is the new sexy!", or Krakow's Wesoła at WUF11

Wiktor Bochenek
05 of July '22

The five-day World Urban Forum 11 conference, held in Katowice, ended a few days ago. On the last day, participants were able to listen to an interesting panel on Krakow's Wesola. What has changed over the past months since the Biennale and the interdisciplinary workshops dedicated to this part of Krakow?

The panel "Old is the new sexy! What does Wesoła mean to Krakow?" took place on June 30 this year during the World Urban Forum. The event was moderated by A&B editor-in-chief Małgorzata Tomczak and Open Eyes Economy program board member Tomasz Janowski.

Guests of the panel were architect and urban planner Dominik Darasz, president of the Krakow City Development Agency Jan Pamula, director of the Krakow Library Agnieszka Staniszewska-Mól, director of the Krakow Festival Office Magdalena Doksa-Tverberg and rector of the Krakow University of Economics Stanisław Mazur.

Uczestnicy panelu

panel participants

© World Urban Forum

in search of tools

The panelists were accompanied by a unique solution - a small hybrid model of Wesoła along with its immediate surroundings made by Horizone Graphics studio. This is a tool that combines the traditional advantages of models with modern technology. What can it be used for?

This tool is the result of communication problems that arise with places like Wesola. The hybrid model can convey information in an attractive and understandable way. When we conduct public consultations, it can prove to be a significant help," points out architect and model creator Dominik Darasz(Horizone Studio).

The small-scale mock-up is not the only model of this type realized by Horizone. In the pages of the A&B portal, we talked to Dominik Darasz about the hybrid model for the Swedish city of Helsingborg, as well as all the opportunities and advantages this solution offers.

model hybrydowy wykonany przez Horizone Graphics

Hybrid model made by Horizone Graphics

© World Urban Forum

looking for an idea

The discussion focused on what should be in the Wesola space, and what functions should be located there. This unique part of the city requires a completely new approach from the management side. An important problem related to its organization is its previous, hospital-like function, marked in the memory of many Cracovians by a somewhat pejorative character.

We would like to create this space anew. Often people have bad experiences with the neighborhood, related to the hospital's operations. Expectations that resounded in the public consultation indicate three functions for this place: cultural, recreational and sports. This space cannot be left alone, it must work together," said KBF director Magdalena Doksa-Tverberg.

Wesola is also seeing the first institutions starting pioneering activities in the district's space. In addition to KBF, this includes the Krakow Library, which wants not only to open its part of Wesola to everyone, but also to cooperate directly with other entities.

The Krakow Library brings together more than 150,000 Krakow residents. I see the area around our institution on Wesola as an organized public space where, in cooperation with other institutions, we can organize new events, but also a space where everyone can find themselves," mentioned Krakow Library director Agnieszka Staniszewska-Mól.

od lewej: Jan Pamuła, Agnieszka Staniszewska-Mól, Magdalena Doksa-Tverberg

From left: Jan Pamuła, Agnieszka Staniszewska-Mól, Magdalena Doksa-Tverberg

© World Urban Forum

plans for the future

The panel revolved around what is most important in organizing Wesoła, but also why proper management of this space can underscore Krakow's far-reaching aspirations as a modern city.

This is a space that above all needs to be revitalized. Wesoła needs to be home to arts, colleges or recreational venues that will coalesce in this space. Krakow has metropolitan aspirations, which can be highlighted by activities on Wesoła," stressed UEK rector Stanisław Mazur.

od lewej: Dominik Darasz, Tomasz Janowski, Stanisław Mazur, Małgorzata Tomczak

From left: Dominik Darasz, Tomasz Janowski, Stanisław Mazur, Małgorzata Tomczak

© World Urban Forum

Alongside the question of how to develop Wesoola , there was the question of how long the process should take. Should the city focus on quickly introducing institutions and starting work within the nine hectares purchased?

Slow action on this issue is imperative. The Biennale [International Architecture Biennale in Krakow - author's note] showed us that this area should be developed calmly and without haste," points out Jan Pamula, president of the Krakow City Development Agency.

Wesoła continues to appear in discussions and topics, which is an important added value for the organization of this district. The announced and criticized competition for a master plan for Wesoła, which was vaguely announced after the adoption of the Local Land Use Plan for this part of the city, has still not been launched. How this space should be organized was discussed during the aforementioned Biennale, a summary of which can be read in last December's issue of A&B. The digital issue is available for free on the A&B website.

Małgorzata Tomczak podsumowująca wyniki warsztatów związanych z planowaniem Wesołej podczas Międzynarodowego Biennale Architektury w Krakowie

Malgorzata Tomczak summarizing the results of the Wesola planning workshop during the International Architecture Biennale in Krakow.

© World Urban Forum

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