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Sylwia Krzysztofik on energy-based urban regeneration

01 of September '23

The article is from A&B 06|2023 issue

Energetic urban regeneration

Położenie ośmiu terenów wskazanych jako priorytetowe do objęcia Projektem Rewitalizacji Centrum Łodzi

Location of the eight areas identified as priorities for inclusion in the Revitalization Project for the Center of Łódź—Regeneration of urbanized areas in the historic heart of the city, improvement of downtown areas building the identity of the place

illustration: Andrzej Makowski

Łódź is on the list of one hundred EU cities that will join the „Climate Neutral and Smart Cities” program and which will receive EU funding for environmental protection measures: improving air quality, improving green infrastructure, modernizing the transportation system. How can we understand the challenges of implementing change in the most effective way? How should we build a resilient and energy-efficient city?

Ulica Włókiennicza, zakres działań przestrzennych w granicach obszaru 1 Projektu Rewitalizacji Obszarowej Centrum Łodzi

Włókiennicza Street, the scope of spatial activities within the boundaries of Area 1 of the Area Revitalization Project of the Center of Łódź—The project included adaptation of vacant buildings, improvement of the technical condition of most buildings located in the frontages of Włókiennicza Street (marked in red in the figure). Improving the quality of public spaces and reclaiming urban wasteland for new functions was realized by reconstructing streets and creating the Hilary Majewski Passage,

design: Jakub Krzysztofik, 3darchitekci

Urbanresilience is understood in different ways, depending on the source or subject of the study. The most common definition of urban resilience is to refer to the way the urban organism responds to crisis situations and to define the time it takes to return to the baseline or to achieve a better state than before the crisis. A steady trend is also evident, in which urban resilience is understood more and more broadly, not only as adaptation to climate change and related crises, but as a necessary element of spatial policy implemented simultaneously at several scales: agglomeration, city, neighborhood, building. This is related, on the one hand, to the effects of climate change, and, on the other hand, is due to the need to reform the energy sector, which is becoming an increasingly pressing challenge in the current political situation.

Ulica Włókiennicza, zabudowa pierzejowa i przestrzeń publiczna przebudowana w ramach realizacji zmian w obszarze 1 Projektu Rewitalizacji Obszarowej Centrum Łodzi

Włókiennicza Street, frontage buildings and public space rebuilt as part of the implementation of changes in Area 1 of the Area Revitalization Project of the Center of Łódź—Adaptation of vacant and wasteland urban buildings, improvement of the technical condition of buildings and improvement of the quality of common spaces, design: Jakub Krzysztofik, 3darchitekci

, photo: Sylwia Krzysztofik.

Spatial planning to improve urban resilience should prioritize good efficiency in the use of its resources—space, time, money and energy. Achieving this seemingly obvious assumption requires, among other things, defining the right directions in spatial management, by delimiting urbanized areas and making the best use of already urbanized areas. The most common solution is to adapt existing facilities to other functions or locate new development in already urbanized areas. This course of action limits the urbanization of open, usually naturally active areas, and increases the use of parcels with existing transportation and infrastructure services.

Pasaż Róży, przestrzeń publiczna przebudowana w ramach zmian w obszarze 4 Projektu Rewitalizacji Obszarowej Centrum Łodzi

Passage of Roses, public space redeveloped as part of changes in Area 4 of the Area Revitalization Project for the Center of Łódź—Improving the quality of common spaces, expanding the pedestrian access network, improving accessibility of downtown quarters, designed by Jakub Krzysztofik, 3darchitekci,

photo: Sylwia Krzysztofik

Re-use of urban areas has a positive impact on the life cycle length of buildings. Re-use of existing volumes is related to extending the life cycle of facilities, reducing the amount of energy needed for material production, transportation, construction. Here we touch on another layer of urban energy efficiency issues—the circular economy. The development of the circular economy is necessary to improve the efficiency of material use and reduce the amount of energy consumed in the production of new goods. It is important not only to use the resources we already have for as long as possible, but also to develop waste recovery technologies, including the reuse and recycling of hard-to-recycle materials, composites, components of dismantled objects, changing legislation on food markets and the waste produced in the marketing of these products.

Skrzyżowanie ulicy Nowomiejskiej z ulicą Północną, zmiany zaprojektowane w obszarze 4 Projektu Rewitalizacji Obszarowej Centrum Łodzi

Intersection of Nowomiejska Street with Północna Street, changes designed in Area 4 of the Area Revitalization Project of the City Center of Łódź—Improvement of pedestrian safety, priority for public transport, introduction of street plantings, design: Jakub Krzysztofik, 3darchitekci,

photo: Sylwia Krzysztofik

At the city scale, in addition to the delimitation of urban areas, it is important to implement solutions that improve the quality of life and result in lowering the city's energy demand. The obvious direction is to improve the quality of public transportation, increase the share of bicycle transportation, improve pedestrian mobility in favor of reducing the number of daily commutes by car. The next step is the intelligent design of optimal and reliable transportation systems, the use of artificial intelligence for logistics management and for mobility forecasting, the digitization of public transportation, the development of the use of real-time data in supply chains. In parallel, the increase of zero-emission vehicles and the popularization of shareconomy in urban planning (car sharing, crowdsourcing in logistics, uberization) should continue.

Przestrzeń przed kamienicą w pierzei ulicy Północnej, stan przed rozpoczęciem budowy i stan projektowany

Space in front of the townhouse on the North Street frontage, pre-construction and designed state—Widening of sidewalks, introduction of street greenery. Area Revitalization Project of the Center of Łódź, by Jakub Krzysztofik, 3darchitekci,

photo by Sylwia Krzysztofik

Another challenge is to improve the resilience of the energy sector. First of all, it is necessary to study and monitor the reliability and security of energy systems. The next step is to intelligently design optimal and reliable transmission systems, build international energy supply chains and develop the sector responsible for energy storage. In this regard, one of the objectives being implemented is to increase the share of renewable energy sources and improve their integration into the energy system. A parallel decarbonization of the energy sector towards zero emissions is assumed. Important here is the development of financial instruments that will encourage producers to reduce the consumption of primary raw materials.

Wycieczka studentów Politechniki Warszawskiej

Tour of Warsaw University of Technology students—Popularization of design concepts and presentation of solutions implemented as part of the Łódź City Center Area Revitalization Project, during a field visit,

photo: Małgorzata Denis

Theimplementation of these tasks requires the drafting and continuous evaluation of assumptions for integrated concepts in spatial planning, energy management and mobility. Which piece of this puzzle is among the basic ones? Education. It is the informed user who is needed for the smooth implementation of changes and for strengthening the resilience of regions, cities, neighborhoods and communities. Implementation of the changes described can only be carried out with resident participation and scenario building to increase local community involvement.

Warsztaty projektowe, spotkania z mieszkańcami

Design workshops, meetings with residents—Activation of local community to define guidelines for the Łódź City Center Area Revitalization Project

© Illustration courtesy of the author

Sylwia Krzysztofik

Sylwia Krzysztofik — urban planner, architect, assistant professor at the Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Faculty of Construction, Architecture and Environmental Engineering of the Technical University of Łódź. Member of the board of the Łódź branch of the Society of Polish Town Planners. Author of a dissertation on the relationship between legislative tools in planning and progressive changes in environmentally valuable areas in the Warsaw and Łódź agglomerations. She is currently conducting research on the revitalization of intensively urbanized downtown areas and planning tools for improving the resilience of urban structures. Co-author of the concept of the Area Revitalization of the Center of Łódź (areas 1-4 of 67 hectares), planning studies, designs of public buildings.

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