What do we need the city for? This was the question asked by speakers at the November 21 "Cracow Day", which was held at the Open Eyes Economy Summit. "Kraków Day", which is the prologue of the Open Eyes Economy Summit. As every year, the conference is preceded by an event to talk about what is important for Krakow.
This year's prologue was held at the KTO theater located in Krakow's Podgórze district. The slogan of the event was the question "What do we need the city for?" The online streamed event was organized by the Foundation for Economy and Public Administration. The host city was Krakow, and it was hosted by Małgorzata Tomczak - editor-in-chief of Architektura & Biznes and Tomasz Jankowski - member of the OEES Program Council.
Below we summarize the most important things discussed at the conference.
what is a healthy city?
The first session was titled "For Health! A City of Positive Energy - The New European Bauhaus." The moderator of the conversation was artist and founder of Futura Culture Alek Janicki, for whom the starting point for the topic was the changes in Wesola - the district that was the subject of talks and workshops at last year's International Architecture Biennale in Krakow.
President of the Małopolska Regional Chamber of Architects Piotr Chuchacz, as one of the program members of ACE , pointed out that the title NEB is intended to introduce holistic thinking about the future of space. He also summarized the recently concluded Architecture and Law conference.
The next speaker was Anna Maj of Futura Culture, who, when asked by the moderator, began with a brief synopsis of her work on a recyclite composite that can serve as a building block. The speaker, who is pursuing a doctorate at AGH, created a hollow block that can be produced from waste. She smoothly moved on to the issue of Wesoła and ideas on how this part of the city can fit into the European Positive Energy District (PED) program.
The rest of the panel was devoted to health in two contexts. Sandra Sitek-Juranek talked about the mission of the In Corpore Foundation, dedicated to the rehabilitation of children, and Anna Maria Trawinska pointed out how computing and data science can facilitate our future, in the context of such problems as an aging population and a shortage of doctors.
from left: Sandra Sitek-Juranek, Anna Maria Trawinska, Piotr Chuchacz, Anna Maj, Alek Janicki
Photo: Wiktor Bochenek
Since the conference is about Cracow, it could not do without mentioning the publication "Urban Change in Central Europe: The Case of Cracow" edited by Professor Jacek Purchla, published by Routledge. Professor Rafał Matyja spoke briefly about the publication, followed by a thirty-minute speech by Jacek Purchla.
The professor first of all outlined the place of Krakow on the map of Poland, touched on the approach of centrism and why metropolises often did not become locomotives of development. Among the elements that have determined Kraków's partial success, according to the professor, is its university character. Referring to Richard Florida, the speaker pointed to the role of the creative class. This provided a good introduction to how Krakow's aspirations as a metropolis are shaping up.
Professor Jacek Purchla
photo by Wiktor Bochenek
Is centrism a result of the crisis?
The next panel was chaired by Rector of the Cracow University of Economics Stanisław Mazur. The discussion was about how self-government should be further shaped and whether we need decentralization.
The first speaker to take the floor was the director of the Public Transport Authority, Łukasz Franek, pointing out the need to look for solutions at the central level, which, he said, is more about who needs what, not what someone shouts louder. He also pointed out the lack of at least one good agglomeration transportation system in Poland, which would be worth following.
Another speaker was Ewa Całus, Plenipotentiary of the Mayor of the City of Cracow for Climate Education, who pointed out the need to constantly look for new formulas for local government, and the fact that in Poland it was on these institutions that the distribution of the 500+ program or the sale of coal was based.
Nina Gabryś, Plenipotentiary of the Mayor of the City of Cracow for Gender Equality, also made an important contribution to the discussion. She drew attention to the ever-growing civic awareness, its role and the needs of local government institutions. The speaker also stressed the need for horizontal thinking about equality policy - in many aspects of political decisions.
Krzysztof Głuc, chairman of the New Sącz City Council, also took part in the discussion. The discussant referred to his experience with local elections, noting the still too small role of residents in these processes. He also pointed out that an efficient local government must be active. The speaker also stressed how fickle outsourcing sources of business employment are, depending on the global economic situation and cost optimization.
From left: Łukasz Franek, Nina Gabryś, Ewa Całus, Krzysztof Głuc, Stanisław Mazur
photo: Wiktor Bochenek
Another lecture led by Tomasz Janowski was entitled "What kind of Krakow Poland needs?" referring to the titularity and nature of Krakow being a symbol.
Professor Rafał Matyja drew attention to the necessity of creating strong institutions not only because of their necessity in the urban process, but also because of observing what is created in spite of it. This is what places for the exchange of ideas, such as OEES, are meant to serve.
The editor-in-chief of Znak Publishing House, Dominika Kozłowska, spoke about the role of Krakow, referring to its publishing history. The impact of institutions on how we perceive the city of Krakow is well reflected in the history of the cultural circles that created this myth. She also emphasized the loss to Krakow of a couple of generations who did not make their mark on the city.
The next speaker was Bartosz Szydłowski, artistic director of the Łaźnia Nowa theater. He emphasized the ways in which the label of cultural capital harms Krakow. Very often, the driving force for truly original art turns out to be the detachment of those labels that can actually harm.
Also taking part in the discussion was MP Maciej Gdula, who pointed out the lack of proper discourse about the city in its cultural institutions, as well as the place of the battlefield. He also stressed how variously the city of kings in Poland is perceived. On the one hand, as the place that gave Poland Barbara Nowak and Jędraszewski, and on the other as the one that launched civic forces such as the Krakow Smog Alarm.
From left: Rafał Matyja, Maciej Gdula, Dominika Kozłowska, Bartosz Szydłowski, Tomasz Janowski
photo by Wiktor Bochenek
Is the new Rybitwy a losing battle?
The next panel was moderated by Małgorzata Tomczak, editor-in-chief of Architektura & Biznes magazine. The discussion concerned Krakow's "new cities," or grand plans to erect new neighborhoods in the city. The discussion revolved primarily around the long-recurring idea of New Rybitwy, which is to become a modern residential district.
Once again, the panel included Professor Rafal Matyja, who pointed out what, despite appearances to the contrary, an important role great projects play for the sense of imagining our cities.
Activist and chairman of the Space-City-People association Paweł Hałat pointed out that most of Krakow's new cities such as Wesoła or Nowa Huta were created not on the initiative of the local government, but as top-down projects, imposed either by Vienna or Warsaw.
Janusz Sepiol, architect of the City of Rzeszow and former Marshal of the Małopolska Region, focused primarily on the city government's idea of a new city, namely New Rybitwy. He pointed out that the calculations were unrealistic and the number of residents was scaled up too much. He also stressed the lack of an idea for the proper construction of such a new city.
The issues of this idea were also criticized by Piotr Legierski, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Home Builders Association. He pointed out the possible omission of economic aspects in erecting such tall skyscrapers in this part of the city. The speaker pointed out the low spatial as well as economic attractiveness of this part of the city, with a reminder of the strong industry still located there.
From left: Janusz Sepioł, Paweł Hałat, Rafał Matyja, Piotr Legerski, Małgorzata Tomczak
photo: Wiktor Bochenek
Who is a resident of Krakow
The last panel, on who are the new bourgeoisie, was moderated by Tomasz Janowski. Speakers primarily exchanged perspectives on who is a resident of Krakow today, as well as who is staying in the city. Speakers such as MP Daria Gosek-Popiołek, geographer and activist Marek Grochowicz, Krakow Mayor's plenipotentiary for cultural affairs Robert Piaskowski, and Internationaler Bund Poland Foundation director Maria Wojtacha could be divided into "bourgeois from granddaddy" and "jarheads." The exchange of experiences turned into discussions about who is a citizen of the city, and how they should be represented by the institutions of councilors, plenipotentiaries, as well as neighborhood councilors. Attention was paid to the need for openness.
From left: Marek Grochowicz, Daria Gosek-Popiołek, Maria Wojtacha, Robert Piaskowski, Tomasz Janowski
Photo: Wiktor Bochenek
end of the prologue
This is another "Cracow Day" that should resonate more widely in the Cracow community and beyond. Discussions about what kind of symbol Krakow is, what kind of institutions it needs, as well as an understanding of who it is today are invaluable. The recording of the conference is worth checking out.
Other events during the Open Eyes Economy Summit congress will be held on November 22-23 at theICE Krakow Congress Center . We invite you to participate in the congress, as well as in the accompanying Open Architecture Studio Festival!