Time has come to make magic happen in “Nowy Kleparz!” (If not magic, anything else: but something has to happen in this district apart from a “brides come true”!!!) N.B: our district is not really Nowy Kleparz… Long story
Based on our explore and exchange phases, along with sideline activities and conferences attended during this crazy IP week in Krakow, we have come to the conclusion that Nowy Kleparz’s Urban Challenge is not as much about something that should be changed, but something that should be added, since what is already there does not constitute a problem in itself. With the exception of the park, for which additional investigation should be conducted in order to find out the deep political obstacle that it represents for the City.
2.) Interviews with Locals
Ana (19), student:
Ana doesn’t live in the area but knows it well as she studies there. She has never heard about the hidden park, but she would be happy to see more plants around the area. She explains that this is a busy area as it’s close to the mall and the university. The residents of this area are mainly young people, students.
Lukasz (25), professional:
Lukasz lives in the area and finds it very busy. He is facing financial problems and has to work and study at the same time. He finds the rent in the area too high. According to him, there are mostly students living there. Lukasz doesn’t know anything about the park.
Monika (21), student:
Monika lives and studies in the area. She has never heard about the park, but she would welcome more green space in the area. She tells us that it is a students’ place and they would love a park there. She also likes street art that would promote the re- opening of the park. AS she says: we should start doing something about the park now.
Adreas, (23), student:
Andreas is a student and works parttime in a computer shop and lives in the area. According to him the most people who live in the area are foreign students. This mainly has to do with the rent, which is too high for the most, polish students and people. Another problem he addressed is the traffic and parking problem in the area; there are not enough parking space and parking is too expensive. According to Andreas this is the main problem of this area, as most people come here to work or to do business; so more parking space should be created.
Marik (28), hotel receptionist:
Marik works in Hotel Atrium, but lives in a different part of the city because the rent of the apartments in this area is too high. That’s why you would see more foreigners, and especially foreign students live in this area or older Polish people. He also mentioned that the area in the past was a bit unsafe. And like Andreas, he also mentioned the parking and traffic problems in this area.
Based on these interviews we have focused our attention on the lack of action, colors and attention of the district and have come up with the following super creative and super collaborative urban project for our quarter: “Color Kleparz, color Krakow!” The idea of the project is threefold:
– set up a collaboration with an arty “start-up”: the MOCAK of Krakow!
– involve the local residents in the project by asking for their active participation at all stages of the project (the power to the people!!!)
– set up a campaign in order to promote the project and stimulate touristic flows in the quarter in the near future.
Another idea is to re-open Hen Jalu Park. This park is located in the center of Krakow Street Road. Named after Jalu Kurek, a Polish poet. After World War II, the park area was taken over by the communist authorities. There is a palace in the park, which was the headquarters of Radio Krakow and the park used to be fully available to residents of the city. After 1989 the Catholic Church Assembly requested the Committee to return the palace and the park. After regaining the park by the Assembly the park was closed down, despite numerous protests of local residents, students nearby Cracow University of Technology and councilors First Quarter. Officially, the reason for the closure is the lack of funds to repair the lighting and park infrastructure. In 2008, the owners of the park appeared to give the building to the countryside in the area wanting to build a European Centre for the Salvation Army. They stated that if they get permission for the redevelopment of the remainder of the park, it will be made available to the local community. The proposal was rejected by John Janczykowskiego, regional conservation. Currently, the property is closed.
In the case of the parking and congestion problems in the area, more research should be done by urban planners.
Let us develop further our idea:
First of all, the idea of collaboration with the MOCAK has been triggered by a tour made by some of us yesterday afternoon thanks to the IP programme. We have been able to get in touch directly with the MOCAK staff, and have found out that urban projects are part of the museum’s leitmotiv. Below are some examples of urban projects they have managed with the participation of local artists. Municipal permits are of course needed when the project is related to a public space, but it has not been an issue so far for the MOCAK. Since the museum is actively working on increasing the number of visitors, both national/international tourists and residents of Krakow, an urban art project in a district situated at the very opposite location of the museum might be a real asset for them. The collaboration would consist of a street art project that would not only help color the district but also bring a young and regenerated aspect to it. Moreover, it would allow the promotion of local artists working together on an urban project, which the museum is really trying to do. Specifically, they would like to help out local students in the field of art. Therefore, such a project would satisfy both parties involved and should not generate too high costs, as it would be voluntary-based.
Secondly, the participation of local residents is of crucial importance. As it has been mentioned in our initial article on our discovery of Nowy Kleparz, protests of local inhabitants against the closing of the park has shown that they have already been excluded from the municipal decision process in the past, and have been denied their citizens’ rights. Their support in this project is therefore of major importance, at all stages of the project cycle: information, consultation throughout the project, brainstorming, planning, execution, follow-up after the completion of the project. Our project should therefore include all types of communication channels, to ensure that no local inhabitant will be left out of the project. Printings should however be limited (and social networks encouraged) in order to avoid additional costs and to contribute to sustainable development. A survey could be determined during the initial phase of the project in order to see what the needs are in terms of communication channels. We would also recommend the setting up of a real virtual community (as already suggested in our first post): social networks could be used to establish such a community, which would then allow people to meet for various reasons and make the quarter livelier. Such interactions would also later bring about other suggestions for improvement.
Last but not least, a campaign could be set up in order to promote the new “face” of the neighbourhood, in order to make it a new touristic destination, within the beauty that Krakow has to offer already. In order to save costs, the campaign could be elaborated by students of the university and consists of basic advertising devices (social networks, public advertisements organized with the municipality, etc.)