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Good or better? The metamorphosis of Krupnicza Street in Krakow has been completed

14 of June '23
w skrócie
  1. The transformation of Krupnicza Street into Krakow's first woonerf has begun in Krakow following the completion of infrastructure work by MPEC.
  2. The design of Krakow's first woonerf was made by the ZZM office.
  3. The green Krupnicza Street was to be the starting point for the creation of a green route connecting Planty with Jordan Park and Błonia.
  4. It is still possible to enter Krupnicza Street by car, even though the number of parking spaces has been reduced, and the car does not have priority in moving through the space.
  5. The space of Krupnicza Street has improved significantly, but the visual excess of cubes over greenery is glaring.
  6. For more interesting information, visit the home page of the A&B portal

Kraków's woonerf on Krupnicza Street has not stirred up as much controversy as Warsaw's Pięciu Rogów Square designed by WXCA. In the context of this realization, however, the question arises, is it a space that satisfies us?

The aforementioned Pięciu Rogów Square has awakened a nationwide discussion on the design of public spaces—from the voices of attack for the lack of adequate biologically active space and concretization, to the defense of the square as a part of the city reclaimed for residents. In Kraków, at the same time, the transformation of Krupnicza Street into Kraków's first woonerf began after MPEC completed infrastructure work. The project, made by the ZZM office, may evoke some associations, although its official opening passed without controversy.

ulica Krupnicza została oficjalnie otwarta pod koniec maja

Krupnicza Street was officially opened at the end of May

photo by Wiktor Bochenek

The fight to change Krupnicza to a woonerf lasted many years. As Natalia Nazim pointed out in a conversation for the architekturaibiznes.pl portal, the idea for this transformation was born in 2012. For many years, the direction and idea for the area were discussed (you can read the conversation here—Green Krupnicza is just the beginning of changes—a conversation with Natalia Nazim). After several years, promotion of the project, discussions with the magistrate, it was possible to proceed with the idea.

wzdłuż ulicy posadzono wysokie drzewa

Tall trees were planted along the street

photo by Wiktor Bochenek

grand plans

The public adopted very ambitious plans within the western part of the Old Town and Krowodrza districts. The green Krupnicza Street was to be the starting point for creating a green route connecting Planty with Jordan Park and Błonia. However, the completed project does not currently include the part of Krupnicza Street from the intersection of Szujskiego Street to Trzech Wieszczy Avenue. A park named after Wislawa Szymborska is being built in this quarter of the city, located on the site of the former parking lot on Karmelicka Street. After several months of work, Krupnicza Street has been officially opened. It is good, but it is worth asking the question, could it have been better?

od strony ulicy Podwale znajdziemy ławki otaczające drzewa i krzewy

On the side of Podwale street you will find benches surrounding trees and bushes

photo: Wiktor Bochenek

is better the enemy of good?

The most important thing in the reconstruction of Krupnicza Street is the change of use—barriers in the form of curbs have been removed, allowing more egalitarian use of the street. However, Krupnicza is a woonerf, not a pedestrian zone—you can continue to enter the street by car, although the number of parking spaces has been reduced, and the car does not have priority in moving through the space.

jeden z ogrodów deszczowych

one of the rain gardens

photo by Wiktor Bochenek

The most important element that has appeared in this space is the trees. Instead of small trees supported by a frame, you will find taller bird cherry or black alder trees. Another important solution was the rain gardens closer to Szujski Street, with a total area of more than a hundred square meters. These are to reduce the amount of water flowing into the sewer system and minimize the risk of flooding. The rain gardens have been expanded with an educational value in the form of a plaque from which we can learn about the idea of this solution.

tablica tłumacząca, czym jest ogród deszczowy

A plaque explaining what a rain garden is

photo by Wiktor Bochenek

The space of Krupnicza Street has improved significantly, and a graphic with a comparison of how the street has changed has begun to circulate in social media. The question arises, could this space have been organized better? What is glaring above all is the visual excess of cubes over greenery. On the side of Podwale Street, one finds larger shrubs, only to see trees further away enclosed in distinctive cages. Perhaps this section lacks a bit of low greenery that could surround the trees, creating a truly green enclave. The question also relates to the issue of the growth of the trees, whether they will not come into collision with the buildings next door, such as the facade of the Bagatela theater.

ogrody deszczowe i drzewa

rain gardens and trees

photo by Wiktor Bochenek

In the end, it is worth appreciating some of the changes and asking —what could have gone better? Maybe implementing more low-lying greenery in future woonerf developments? It is worth considering what to do so that in the future Kraków's woonerfs would include such elements.

jeden z ogrodów deszczowych

one of the rain gardens

photo by Wiktor Bochenek

compiled by Wiktor Bochenek

The vote has already been cast

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