- The green waterfront of a city – where are the limits of good planning? Gdansk case   click here to open paper content951 kb
by    Sas-Bojarska, Aleksandra | aleksandra.sas-bojarska@wp.pl   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The paper presents the role of strategic planning of green areas of
waterfronts in shaping the image of cities, and the threats to them caused
by wrong planning decisions. The case study of Gdansk serves as an example
to illustrate the potential of the sea-shore landscape and its possible
The aim of the article is to present the role of green public areas of
waterfronts in shaping the image of cities, and the threats to such
landscape which may be caused by wrong planning decisions. The case study
of Gdansk sea-shore area in Poland is presented as an example to illustrate
the values and potential of the waterfront landscape which can be easily
destroyed by inadequate spatial development.

One of the most important questions to pose for urban planner is, whether
in the world of nearly unlimited technical possibilities there still exist
the limits, which we should not exceed during the process of town
development. For sure there are no longer technological, physiographical or
economic borders. We can construct towns using the best available
techniques, even in the most difficult circumstances: in the water (Palm
Island), on the desert (Masdar) or in the middle of nowhere (Las Vegas).
High costs are in such cases the decision of the developer. Nevertheless,
considering all the circumstances and effects, we should admit that some
frontiers of planning should not be exceeded.

The fundamental paradigm in decision making process is sustainable
development. What does it mean in town planning? Complexity of planning
(spatial, economic, social, environmental aspects), integrated approach,
compact city, smart city, energy efficiency, green buildings, environmental
protection, public transport system integrated with spatial development,
mixed use, urban regeneration, brownfields redevelopment, consideration of
local circumstances ... These and many other aspects are the subject of
world wide discussion, programs, documents, principles, rating systems
(LEED, BREEAM), publications and competitions. Their common goal is to
develop the ecocity idea and to implement it in practice.

The goal of the article is to discuss the planning policy of Gdansk related
to its green waterfront in the context of sustainable development, and to
assess whether Gdansk meets the challenges of ecocity in this area. Gdansk
waterfront is the undeveloped, semi-natural green area, located at the
seashore. The site is of outstanding environmental, landscape and cultural
value. At the same time – as a very attractive investment area – it is the
subject of strong development pressure. Therefore, it is exposed to
potentially chaotic and environmentally harmful development.

Some theoretical studies have been conducted as a basis for case study
analysis. The proposal prepared by Polish Ecological Club, presenting the
alternative development of the green waterfront has been compared to city
land use plans and strategies. Field studies, comparative case studies, and
outcomes from the international workshop conducted by the author and from
students’ works related to this area, were the basis to formulate the

Gdansk study case proves that there is a need for strategic planning of
city landscape. The landscape studies should be strictly connected with the
town planning, especially in the context of rapid urbanization and pressure
on the environment. The growing knowledge on potential environmental
consequences of harmful activities is a warning system, showing how serious
crossing the frontiers of planning may be. It may in consequence destroy
non-renewable resources, and cause irreversible damage to environmental and
landscape values; values, that often determine the quality of life in the

The crucial conclusion relates to the need for prediction of environmental
and landscape threats caused by inadequate development, and the need of
reinterpreting the approaches related to city landscape, with the aim of
restoring and enhancing the green and recreation areas within the cities.

The presented thesis may support good practice in urban planning,
especially in relation to landscape protection and shaping. The role of
public participation and acceptance in decision-making is stressed as a
crucial factor in influencing the city planning.
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