- Building a Community on Pride    click here to open paper content1584 kb
by    Perry, Guy | guyperryinvi@gmail.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Central Europe's largest post-communist era development challenges short-term market driven urban sprawl to create a multi-purpose, walkable, district that has inspired residents to create public space to their own requirements.
Miasteczko Wilanow (MW), begun in 2000 and now the largest ongoing development in Central Europe, is a contemporary re-invention of the urban morphology that was lost in that city during the war torn 20th century. It is also a symbol of the fight of a generation of young, well educated, Poles; unsatisfied with the capability of local government or private developers to deliver a coherent living environment on the level of their ambitions.

A wide range of investors from throughout the world and Poland built over 2,000,000 m2 in MW during the last 10 years. Luckily, the development framework yielded a remarkably dense and coherent yet human scaled neighborhood, regardless of the quality of the individual developers. The original 169 hectare mixed use district has grown to over 250 hectares as neighboring landowners/developers adopt the dense and profitable mid-rise integrated planning approach.

With 25,000 residents, the community now has a life and character of it's own. Those residents are often individuals who came and invested in MW because they believed in a community that would not be business as usual. The same residents who established and re-established record voter participation in Poland during the last two national elections. Residents who have made their own district the safest place in Warsaw - without using gates.

In 2010, against the wishes of city authorities and to the emberrassement of developers, the residents took into their own hands the maintenance and completion of promised public spaces and amenities. First, basic weeding and the removal of hundreds of illegal signs and billboards, then planting of hundreds of trees and thousands of shrubs, to the specifications of the original plan. In the process, they brought down the local government, even though it represented the ruling party, and sent packing the entire senior management of the largest development company on the site. The residents and their non-politial coordinator were nominated for the highest citizen honor provided by Poland's leading newspaper.

In 2012 the community public space enhancement program continues to expand into urban furniture, playgrounds, exercise equipment, fountains, even schools. It has become a kind of grass roots PPP. The government and developpers have no choice but to collaborate with and support the directives of the community residents, to do otherwise would be political suicide for the administration and would only reduce profits for developpers in a neighborhood which continues to boom in the midst of a quiet economy. The last improvement actions have seen the new mayor participate and the majority of the urban furniture donated by developers - finally, as it should be.

Miasteczko Wilanow receive an ISOCARP award of Excellence in 2008.

Sustainable Community Pride
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