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Dabrowski Square will change as voted by Lodz residents

Wiktor Bochenek
04 of January '23

The issue of changing Dabrowski Square in Lodz returns every few months, from the presentation of the first sketches and visualizations to the "micro-referendum" in which a new concept was selected. How will the space change and what do the online votes mean?

We've been writing about changes in the space of Dabrowski Square for a long time - it's a place on the Łódź map that has been scaring residents since 2009. The reconstruction of the square in front of the theater is considered unsuccessful, led by the removal of greenery and the installation of a characteristic fountain. Therefore, it was decided to change it. The first concepts were presented by a consortium of studios MamArchitekci and A2P2. This served as a prelude to further changes.

debetonation

Based on these ideas, and after meetings, consultations and debates with residents, three options were presented. What did they have in common?

They all involved increasing the amount of biologically active area, increasing the number of trees, and creating a water retention area. The new concept thus implied debonairization. These plans have been talked about for many months.

We are keen for residents to be able to spend their free time here, surrounded by greenery. At the moment we have thirty trees here, and after the renovation there could be more than a hundred and eighty, which will significantly increase the biologically active area. With the current climate change, such measures are very much needed," stresses the City Mayor, Hanna Zdanowska.

Wariant 2, który zwyciężył w plebiscycie

The second variant, which won the plebiscite

© City of Lodz Office | mamArchitekci and A2P2

vox populi

mamArchitekci and A2P2 prepared three variants for which residents could vote. The variants differed primarily in the layout of greenery and water infrastructure. Voting took place on the city's Vox Populi platform, where Lodz residents voted (verification was by PESEL number) for one of the three projects. More than two-thirds of the votes went to the second variant, which involves planting two hundred and three trees and leaving 27% of the area for nature. The voting formula is an evensement. Residents themselves chose the project directly, in a vote that lasted from December 16 to 27, 2022.

Wariant 1

variant one

© City Hall of Lodz | mamArchitekci and A2P2

micro-referendum

The choice of variant and the formula for holding the vote seems to be an interesting signpost for many city projects. Direct democracy supported by architectural know-how is a solution that in many aspects was difficult, if not impossible, to implement even a decade ago. In the case of such micro-referendums, just as with civic budgets, it is worth bearing in mind some avoidable drawbacks.

In a world in which we have become greedy with the ideas of smart or the implementation of technology into every activity we do, we should not forget about the digitally excluded - above all, the elderly who often do not follow technological trends, or the economically excluded. The Lodz voting platform is a solution worth emulating, trying to also introduce formulas for excluded people, who will become fewer and fewer over time. Digital direct democracy should become a formula that will permanently settle in our cities.

Wariant 3

variant three

© City Hall of Lodz | mamArchitekci and A2P2

developed by Wiktor Bochenek

The vote has already been cast

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