The City Garden Programme

  • Investor (key institution): Municipality of Kraków
  • Contact person: Coordinator, Elżbieta Urbańska-Kłapa,
  • Year of implementation: 2010
  • Implementation venue

  • Country: Poland
  • Region: Małopolska
  • Town: Kraków
  • Size of area: 326 m2
  • Impact: municipal

    Total costs: 6962 EUR

    Source per every institution

    • regional: 6962,5 EUR

    Important stakeholders concerned

    • regional: Muncipality of Kraków ( Department of Environmental Protection);The C. K. Norwid Culture Centre; Polish Ecological Club; Kraków Historical Museum; Botanic Garden in Kraków; local schools and media
    1. Improved provision of local cultural and social events.
    2. Improved condition & quality of the public space between the blocks of flats.
    3. Improved attractiveness of the architecture of the socialist buildings.
    4. Improved involvement of the local community in events organized in its quarter.
    5. Identified new functions for structures from the era of socialism in 1945 - 1989).
    1. What forms of cooperation were used as new approaches in the field of rehabilitation and conversion of urban functional areas?
    2. The City Garden Programme is being implemented by the municipal institution the C. K. Norwid Culture Centre in cooperation with the non-governmental organization Polish Ecological Club and is financed from the resources of the city budget ( Department of Environmental Protection). In the Programme participate housing associations and cooperatives, housing managers and landlords as well as Kraków residents. The Project is all about urban green areas in Kraków, with particular emphasis placed on housing estate green areas – areas of densely built up “high-rise housing estates”. The Programme is put into practice in various forms: competitions, consultations, reviews, educational meetings and trips.

    3. Was the building or the space between buildings) identified as a valuable socialist heritage?
    4. The Programme is being implemented within the whole city of Kraków. It is aimed at enhancing the qualities of space mainly between the blocks of flats predominantly dating back to socialist era. It is open in character and promotes care of public space through the introduction of arranged green areas into it ( gardens). In this respect it would be rather difficult to refer to a specific space and diagnose its value in terms of socialist legacy, though quite a few gardens entered for competitions within the scope of the City Garden Programme are situated in the post-socialist space.

    5. What criteria were applied to make this judgment?
    6. The programme has been implemented since 1995. Gardens taking part in the competitions ‘Neighbourly Gardens’ and ‘Creepers for Kraków’ were created among others in such high-rise housing estates as Dywizjonu 303 housing estate built in70s/80s), Piastów (70s), Jagiellońskie, Kazimierzowskie and Albertyńskie housing estates (60s), Oświecenia housing estate(80s), Na Kozłówce housing estate (60s/70s). The criterion of evaluation which may be applied to selected spaces between blocks is the time of erection of a housing estate.

    7. Was the building or space between buildings) important to local communities and how were they involved in decision-making process about its rehabilitation or conversion?
    8. The Programme’s objective is to award and motivate those Kraków residents who act for the benefit of enhancing the quality of public space. Social value of each of these individual initiatives has significant influence upon the state of green areas in Kraków, particularly of those situated within high- rise housing estates. Residents at grass-roots level are preoccupied with introducing changes in their immediate surroundings and in the City Garden Programme the initiatives which have a neighbourly nature and organize the local community around a garden are particularly appreciated.

    9. Were attempts made to improve territorial cohesion within the city/town/district? And, if so, how was success on this front gauged?
    10. Arranging the space between blocks of flats by the residents in a neat manner , in accordance with the standards of horticultural art contributes to overall improvement of public space and the state of green areas in different parts of Kraków. Open and common character of gardens helps to build mature civic society and contributes to the understanding of social responsibility which every user of public space is supposed to take. Town cohesion relates to social awareness and civic attitude as far as this Programme is concerned.

    11. Were there attempts to reduced disparities between districts within cities/towns achieved reduced? And, if so, how was success on this front gauged?
    12. The City Garden Programme is organized every year and it is attended by a number of applicants. For a few years now the C. K. Norwid Culture Centre has noted the increase of interest in the programme and the increasing number of participants which translates to a bigger number of gardens of neighbourly nature. The establishment of such spaces allows for new usage functions and upgrades their esthetic standard against the background of other well-maintained urban areas.

    13. Other important facts and comments, e.g. critical review.
    14. The City Garden Programme is a good example of a motivating system inspiring the local community to undertake activity for the benefit of improvement of the quality of space in which they live. This commitment should be adequately rewarded. There is some risk that the organizer (the C. K. Norwid Culture Centre) will not have sufficient resources to continue these undertakings, the situation which might result in the drop of interest in creating neighbourly gardens. On the other hand though, the project proved to be successful enough to encourage other institutions to embark on similar formula.


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