This post is also available in Polish.
Between October 2022 – February 2023, the residents of Piecki-Migowo “Morena” were invited in a series of participatory urban planning workshops titled “Piecki-Migowo - Together we plan the development of the district!”. Together, they shared the current challenges and designed solutions for the socio-spatial future of their surroundings. Their proposals will be incorporated into a masterplan - a document supporting future district planning.
The initial event received high interests, and to ensure equal voices are on the table, the 45 selected participants represented different age groups, gender, and education level. Participants were between the age of 16 and 65+.
The timeline of the workshop was:
The events were piloted by the city of Gdansk under EUARENAS project. Funded by Horizon 2020, the EUARENAS project examined and piloted social innovations at the local levels in the field of participatory and deliberative democracy.
During the first workshop, participants worked in groups to identify the problems in their neighbourhoods. Following to four pre-defined themes of (1) nature, recreation and ecology, (2) sustainable mobility; (3) spatial management, and (4) social places and activities, any ideas were welcome.
Then, through talking with one another, they dove further into the problems they raised, their relevance and urgency. The selection of problems to address in the next meetings were decided via voting. Respectively, the most shared concerns are:
Expansion of formal and informal public spaces related to recreation (parks, sunbathing areas, etc.) and access to existing ones
No local development plan for cooperative areas (fear of further increase in development intensity - no planning regulation)
A social centre providing cultural and sports services with rich architectural values
Green light wave and forest paths
Notably, one of the main struggles in the planning of Morena is its disconnected-ness, manifesting in long traffics and pollutions.
The solution was built up from there: a green-light wave in during the AM and PM rush hours, where commuters go and return from work. This will ensure a steady flow of traffic, reduce traffic jams and delays in public transports. Unstagnant roads will in turn decrease the amount of exhaust fumes and increase road comfort for commuters.
Simultaneously, a cycling thoroughfare was proposed for the Nowa Politechniczna Street. Separated from car traffic, the thoroughfare aims to provide a safe and efficient alternative to car transport. Similarly, green strings, which are shaded walking routes along housing estate paths and arterial roads, will provide comfort for pedestrians.
Improving quality of life through nature and recreation
Greenery was lacking in Morena. Participants were interested in creating green lungs for Morena – a climate solution often employed in urban areas. Through parks and tree lines along the streets, these green lungs can clean the air and mitigate pollutions from traffic jams, and offer shade and cool down the surrounding areas. Community gardening can spark environmental awareness in the residents. The first steps will be selecting potential spaces and native species for planting.
For a long time, the social services of Morena have not been able to keep up with the development speed of its housing infrastructure. There is a compelling need for maintenance of existing public spaces, together with the development of a social centre. The centre will be a service hub – providing social, cultural and sport programmes, information hub – a meeting place and central information dissemination, and commercial hub all in one.
All of the projects designed during the workshops, and their geographical coverage, can be found in the map below.
Green: nature, recreation and ecology; Purple: sustainable mobility; Orange: spatial management; Blue: social places and activities.
Thanks to the great success of the pilot as a participatory method for uniting citizens to work on the same cause, a similar workshop series will be carried out in the Olszynka district.
Between March and April 2023, the pilot underwent two separate evaluation meetings. The first one for the workshops with the municipality representatives involved in the processes, and the second one for the masterplan with selected local activists who were also workshop participants. The city of Gdansk, together with SWPS University, are currently working on the summary, which will be used to improve the processes for the next pilot in Olszynka.
For more information about EUARENAS piloting works: The three EUARENAS pilot cities