“I think the population is satisfied”
Concrete works well in many Polish cities. Millions of zlotys are spent on paving stones, granite and concrete slabs.
In Bochnia, the city spent more than 26 million PLN renovating the market, including laying granite countertops.
– I am satisfied with this market. I think mothers appreciate the fact that they can go there in a stroller and the baby’s head does not bounce, and they can walk in high heels – says Stefan Kolawinsky, mayor of the city.
How is the market evaluated by the population?
– No hope here. Slab, concrete, and before that there were a lot of beautiful trees – we hear.
– When it rains, this market is like rock bottom. It was terribly ill-conceived – someone else adds.
Why do rulers love big, flat, green squares?
Concrete, paving is synonymous with luxury and aspiration to a higher class. Laws and meadows are certainly not something we want to see, because they are neither beautiful, nor clean, nor a big city at that time, explains Leszyk Stabraua of the association “Reaktor B7” in Bokenya.
– Sometimes there are such guidelines from the president or the mayor – We want a square parade. There are cities where the Market Square is the only place where an appeal or meeting of VIPs can take place, celebrations and anniversaries, and it looks great – adds Marta Pignar-Bignarovic, architect from the association “People for the City”, councilor from Gorzów Wielkopolski.
Heat in summer, flooding in autumn
Recently, in Gorzow Wielkopolsky, torrential rains caused a situation in which streams of water flowed through the streets and entered apartment houses.
– Never been there before despite heavy rain. But the city decided to revitalize the area. For us – residents – this work was the equivalent of concrete. A holding tank was built – says Anna Shaniuska, a resident of Gorzow.
In the preparation phase of the market square reconstruction project, officials assured the residents that in exchange for cutting old linden trees, 100 trees and 3.5 thousand shrubs and perennial plants will be planted. Many of them now feel cheated because they did not expect such a change.
– Concrete mix is spoken loudly in the summer, when it’s hot, but it’s also a problem in the fall. Then it rains, and there are often rainstorms that cause flooding. It’s all concrete, it doesn’t leave green spaces, shrubs, weeds, so this water has to find an outlet somewhere – adds Łaniewska.
trees in pots
Perhaps officials in Zaklychen also don’t care about climate change. The town square is a concrete car park and market square. More than a hectare of its area of more than 20 million PLN was covered with granite cubes.
– As for the green spaces of the market square in Zaklichen before the revitalization there were so-called plants from the sixties. In the conservation guidelines, it was expressly provided for the removal of these planets. In a certain concept of the medieval market, they were of no value. It does not fit the nature of the market square, explains Janusz Krzynak, secretary of the municipality of Zaklyczyn.
– Here the old trees that were cut down for this renovation grew. Trees are axed because the foliage is upsetting people – comments Łukasz Maślona, city activist.
40 old trees were cut down. Officials boast, however, that as many as 70 new items have been planted.
These potted trees are fig leaves to show the residents that there are enough trees. However, trees should be planted in the ground, and there should be more of them. If a person could spend millions on a cube, a few thousand could have been spent on a large tree that would fully perform its functions – adds Malona.
Although residents in many cities fight for green space, public consultations in the event of revitalization are often fiction. In the end, their voice is not taken into account, because in the case of market space, the single most important thing is its historical and representative function.
Trees in the market square in Leżajsk befell a similar fate. In the square through which the roundabout passes, the old trees were preserved in one part, but 2500 square meters were paved. The cost of the reconstruction amounted to 14 million PLN.
– The officials did not listen to us, they slaughtered everything in order to start planting young trees. All made with our money. I understand that rabbit and rabbit relatives have to earn money for such renovations and that’s all that matters – suggests a resident of Leżajsk.
Self-service stations instead of concrete?
Bellingham Park in Kashubia, where you can see the natural discounts, shows the farms that can be used in our cities. Perennials that can be used in cities should be cut back once a year. There is a wide range of drought tolerant varieties.
– Seedlings are not expensive. It’s a few or twelve zlotys. The whole discount setup is cheap, says Alina Zagik, the gardener.
There are more and more well-chosen green spaces in English cities that have also had problems with concrete in the past.
– There was a big problem with the flooding in Sheffield. This was dealt with in such a way that out of the three huge lanes of the road, one was taken over and a large rain garden was created. This park is nothing special. It’s just rebates in strategic places where water collects. Thanks to the plants, the water will not flow in a colossal stream, but everything will spread well – comments Katharzina Bellingham, gardener.
In Poland, the only city that will soon start cracking down on concrete is Skierniewice. The granite cladding of almost 8000 square meters of the market cost the city authorities 7 million PLN. Now the authorities have to spend another 3.5 million to blow some of them up.
The market is currently performing its cultural and entertainment role. But it happens two or three times a year. But on a daily basis, especially in summer, it is very hot here. Being in the market is not fun. Residents want more green space and we are meeting these expectations – says Krzysztof Jajdijk, Mayor of Skiernivtsi.
The project provides for the planting of about 48 large trees. The tree canopy will create a canopy. It is a particularly important project for me, because I am from here and involved in something that could change the fate of many cities. I hope we set a good example – says Łukasz Kędziora, Market Reconstruction Designer.
Another city that would also break up the concrete slabs and greenery of Market Square is Kielce. The city will spend 5.5 million PLN on this.
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