Warsaw Meeting, November 2011

Impact of culture on waterfront regeneration
14 - 15 November 2011

About the meeting

The first Grundtvig meeting held on the 14th and 15th of November 2011 was connected to the  "Subject: River" conference in Warsaw and its theme was "Impact of Culture on Waterfront Regeneration". It provided the possibility to discover the story of Warsaw's vision and history on riverbanks development both from the perspective of the City authorities and a local NGO’s representatives.

On the first day the participants discussed the links between the River//Cities Platform and the Grundtvig partnership in terms of strategy, methodology, task distribution, promotion and finances.

Then, they could see and debate on Warsaw 2005-2011 case study presentations given from two perspectives: of a city official and of an NGO activist. Accordingly, Marek Piwowarski, Plenipotentiary of the Mayor of Warsaw for River Bank Development talked about the environment of the Vistula River and the plans for its revitalisation both in terms of ecology and architecture. He enumerated the main problems concerning the Vistula in Warsaw, dividing them in two categories: 1) visual such as wastes, lack of investments, inaccessibility and emptiness; 2) hidden such as complicated structure of competencies, contradictions in aims and values, lack of cooperation, conflicts. In his opinion the first step needed was to CHANGE THE IMAGE OF THE RIVER in the public opinion.

Marek Piwowarski mentioned the Social Strategy for Warsaw Vistula that has been developed as a result of work of the Committee for Social Dialogue on Warsaw Vistula, involving representatives of NGOs and city authorities. They enumerated the following goals to be achieved:
1.    Effective management of the Vistula and its banks
2.    Increase in attractiveness of public space
3.    Development of active recreation
4.    Development of river navigation
5.    Cleanliness of river banks and water
6.    Ensuring safety
7.    Protection of the valuable eco-system.
The vision for the future is the Vistula as a symbol of Warsaw, beautiful, clean and safe place for recreation and natural reserve, a green axis of the city.

Klara Kopcińska, from the STEP association, on the other hand, showed examples of various artistic and civic activities on the Vistula banks, e.g. the transFORM Festival. It was process- oriented, so it grew by including new consecutive elements. The Festival’s focus was on transformation, as well as on recycling and creativity. The project included exhibitions, video projections, installations, concerts, workshops and other artistic activities on and by the Vistula River. One of its main elements, the barge, also created an open stage / screen on which organizations, artists, animators and active citizens could present their own ideas and projects.

The next day, the participants took part in the national conference "Subject: River", at the Warsaw University Library where they presented their projects. The conference was devoted to “Cross-sectorial co-operation for rivers’ and waterfronts’ protection and development. Round-up of the National Project Subject: River”. The event’s programme included presentations by experts, panel discussion, as well as workshops: “The Vistula for Youngsters – Youngsters for the Vistula”, “The Vistula for Students – Students for the Vistula” and “Warsaw Vistula 2012 – workshops in creative planning of cross-sectorial co-operation”.

In the afternoon, Grundtvig project representatives participated in the aforementioned workshops dedicated to cross-sectoral collaboration for the Vistula River in Warsaw in 2012 with the aim to search for practical solutions of a local problem – lack of integrated approach to the waterfront development. City officials and NGO activists both presented their case studies referring to various questions, such as: how does Warsaw deal with the Vistula waterfront? How does it increase access and engagement? Later on they met various local partners involved in projects dealing with the river and had the opportunity to listen to presentations and discuss ideas with stakeholders and learners. Meeting with local organisations inspired ideas for future actions of local partnerships.

Meeting attendees:
5 speakers
13 representatives of partner organisations
40 representatives of local institutions and organisations

Warsaw meeting programme November 2011

On 14 and 15 November 2012 the first meeting of partners of the project “Culture for waterfronts” within the EU Grundtvig Programme took place in Warsaw, in which partners from Poland, Sweden, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Austria and Greece took part. »»

Insights: Vistula riverbank in Warsaw. Cultural regeneration 2005 - 2011. »»

Contacts - Impact Foundation

e-mail: Agnieszka Wlazel

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