DiverCITY2 in Wroclaw: ecology & financing

How to involve private entities in the financing revitalisation and improving the urban environment in the revitalized areas? This is the topic of the project DiverCITY2, in which representatives of Polish cities, government administration, NGOs and scientists participate in Wroclaw. The cities of Fredrikstad, Reykjavik, Vesturbygdd and Lodz are partners in the project.

On 27 September 2016, participants of the project DiverCITY2 met in Wroclaw. At this year's conference, entitled "A City for Everyone," the discussion related to issues of revitalization, and above all, how to involve residents in this process, as well as NGOs and other private entities.

Participants in the project DiverCITY2 Wroclaw, photo: jr

"The aim of the project is to present the inclusion of private entities in the revitalization activities. The overriding question is how local governments, which initiate and coordinate the revitalization processes, can encourage and invite the cooperation of residents, housing communities and cooperatives, non-governmental organizations and social economy entities, entrepreneurs operating in the revitalized areas and private investors who only plan new investments, including real estate projects,' says Grazyna Adamczyk-Arns, president of the company Wroclawska Rewitalizacja.

Wroclaw is not starting from scratch

In 2015, Ministry of Development, the city of Wroclaw and the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) began implementation of the second edition of the project DiverCITY. As in the case of the first edition, Poland, Norway and Iceland were involved in running it. Representatives of Fredrikstad, Reykjavik, Vesturbygdd and Lodz are partners in the project.

"Wroclaw actively creates structures that are to facilitate an engaged, responsible participation in the development of our city to as many participants as possible. This is done, e.g. in the framework of microgrants of the European Capital of Culture, and as part of Wroclaw's Citizen Budget. Consultations, debates and meetings accompany all projects dedicated to today's revitalization areas in Wroclaw, which are Nadodrze and Przedmiescie Oławskie. "Twenty four Wroclaw social councils help us in making decisions, so we are not starting from scratch. We are looking for appropriate forms of cooperation, and test them in a practical way," says Rafał Dutkiewicz, president of Wroclaw, adding that e.g. in Nadodrze, the city entrusted the running of key centres, such as Centre for Professional Development or Infopunkt at ul. Łokietka 5, to non-governmental organizations: "We see some remarkable effects of this cooperation, and we realize that without it, the change in Nadodrze would not be possible," adds the president.

Another example of changes that the city initiated together with private individuals is Ruska 46.

"The city is renovating the municipal infrastructure and welcomes cooperation. At ul. Ruska 46, we have, among others, a foundation dedicated to neon restoration, or an art club. As a result, the place changed completely," Adamczyk-Arns enumerates.

Knowledge and good practices

Participants of DiverCITY2 add that the goal of the project is also to collect knowledge and best practices that will serve as an inspiration, both to representatives of local authorities and private entities. Examples presented at the conference and in the accompanying publications should facilitate the dissemination of the proven instruments and creation of the new ones - tailored to the needs of specific cities, revitalization areas and stakeholders operating there.

It is the second time that Wroclaw hosts DiverCITY. The first conference "A City for Everyone" took place from 11 to 12 September 2014. Discussed was, among others, planning and urban development from the perspective of not only large investments in infrastructure, but also small spatial changes.

In 2017, Wroclaw will host a conference summing up the next stage of the project DiverCITY.

Jarek Ratajczak