The design for the Nowa Huta of the Future focused on the exploitation of the close relation to the nature and the nearby river landscape, fresh food supply from the local agriculture production fields, and a variety of recreational activities to add to the distinctive quality to the plan. Designed by Basic City A+U, in collaboration with Felixx landscape architects, and Ania Molenda & Magdalena Szczypka (mo.st), they believed Nowa Huta should become a city where the entrepreneurial spirit and optimism are combined with an active and healthy lifestyle in close relation to the nature. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Reinvention of the ¬non-operating industrial land of the Arcelor Mittal steel industry complex into a seedbed of the new age industries is the base of our proposal. Revitalization of the existing historic villages by both preserving the historic ambient and densifying via introduction of a variety of residential typologies, complete the collection of the cornerstones for the Nowa Huta’s future spatial development.
Design challenged the stereotypical views at Nowa Huta. Attempted a convincing strategy to argue against understanding of Nowa Huta as a mere periphery, or unfounded oversensitivity towards the presence of a large ArcelorMittal industrial complex, air pollution and land contamination in the area. Instead, it saw Nowa Huta as a substantially independent urban entity with the spatial qualities distinct to its bigger neighbor Krakow and even to the socialist time satellite extension of Stara Nowa Huta.
It’s big relative size, spatial composition of scattered monofunctional urban areas and large agricultural areas offered many, currently hidden qualities. Recognition and employment, as well as the demonstration of those qualities through a coherent and functional spatial framework are the crucial parts of the proposed plan. Together with the absolutely necessary synchronization with the context, exploiting the local opportunities enriched the base of backbones for the sustainable urban development resistant to the volatility of the socioeconomic conditions within a long time frame. Eventually, only understood and tackled as such, Nowa Huta could add the critical quality to the Krakow’s arising metropolitan area, reinforcing and empowering its position in the European context.
There are many challenges ahead in spatial development of Nowa Huta and, one could say, European urban condition in general. Time of the urbanization in the western world caused by the industrial revolution 150 years ago is at the end. Our urban ambient faces challenges such as negative demographic trends, lack of fresh residents for fueling up the known patterns of urbanization, possible shrinkage, necessity to establish a critical approach to the heritage buildings, need for defining strategies for the reuse the existing unattended infrastructure, need to reinvent urban identities, deal with polluted land, general uncertainty etc. All this happens within an ever more complex development process with a quickly growing number of stakeholders in spatial development and fading away of the central role of the state government.
The vitality of every city in such a situation depends on its ability to find its latent qualities and reinforce its existing unique identities. It must reinvent itself using the assets at hand, propose realistic goals avoiding falling into a labyrinth of local ambitions, rather finding its place in a wider context, regional and European. It must optimally use its material resources and challenge its human potential to perform therefore securing a long-term success of its development.