Plac Inwalidów: a phoenix arising from the ashes

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Our second day on the square: it was not just looking at the square, but investigating how are people’s feelings about it. Do they feel included there?

Steps:

We started by observing who was on the square and how they were using the square itself. We saw that many people were just walking by, and no one was sitting on the only bench there. There were all sorts of people: young, students, foreigners, old, drunks, children and their parents, business men. There were many people buying things in the local shops, while many other people were just crossing the square.

Then we started to engage with the people with asking three questions:

–          Can you name one positive aspect about the square?

–          Can you name one negative aspect about the square?

–          What would you like to improve?

We heard some people saying that the square is beautiful and that it is linked to the history of Krakow. However, most of the people do not know the exact significance of the monument on the square.

What came up more frequently were complaints about the surface of the ground and the noise surrounding the square, and the drunk people staying there in the evening. They confirm the square is more a pass-through space than a real space of integration. Yet, they still expressed the need for improvement. The major complaints were about the bad conditions of the pavement and about the steps leading to the park. One of the people we interviewed claimed that there have not been any changes in the last twenty-five years. Most of the suggestions from the people were about the possibility to have a new ground, to have more benches and some exhibitions. “It would be great to have some pieces of art here, like photos behind glass, or any artistic piece of work”. Moreover, other considerations came out about the proximity of the square to the centre: “it is good here to meet with friends, because the square is really close to the centre and there a lot of transports, like bus and trams”. However, many people complained about the traffic. To conclude, one of the people we interviewed told us: “please, keep it green!”.

Therefore, our suggestions are:

–          To improve the pavement: the idea will be to create a big mosaic in the middle of the square, in order to make it more attractive and colourful and to make people feel part of its beauty;

–          To create an informative plaque in order to explain the significance of the square and of its monument, and the mosaic project;

We hope that a project like this will improve the function of “meeting point” that the square already has. The best would be to transform this place of passage into a unique place that people really enjoy when they meet there.

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