“Ugly Truth” about Social Participation on the Example of First Woonerf in Poland

Wibig, Krzysztof (2017) “Ugly Truth” about Social Participation on the Example of First Woonerf in Poland. REAL CORP 2017 – PANTA RHEI – A World in Constant Motion. Proceedings of 22nd International Conference on Urban Planning, Regional Development and Information Society. pp. 609-615. ISSN 2521-3938

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Following article serves the purpose of executing a specialized analysis and evaluation of an urban project from theory of citizens participation point of view. It is a field of science, balancing between sociology, urbanism, economy and even politics. Urban project I chose as an example has been conducted within borders of Łódź, third biggest city in Poland. In june 2014 municipal council office on a single block of 6th Sierpnia street has finished first woonerf in Poland creating an unprecedential kind of public space in the country. Original word woonerven comes from a dutch language and it has been adapted by english language and became a woonerf. Polish language does not allow to translate it easily and the English version is officialy in use, but also commonly used is a non formal transcription, urban courtyard. According to definition from an Oxford Living Dictionary woonerf is „a road in which devices for reducing or slowing the flow of traffic have been installed”. Quoted definition explains only technically what a woonerf is, but for full picture we need to identify the question woonerf is trying to answer. In the begining of XIXth century, street was a different space than we can see nowadays according to Charles Montgomery in his recent book titled „Happy city: Transforming our lives through urban design”. He recalled a memory of the street from before age of cars, Through most of history, cities streets were available for everyone. Road was equally a marketplace, a playgroung, a park and yes also a thoroughfare, but without street lights, lanes painted on the ground or designated pedestrian crossings. Till 1903 no city even had a traffic code. Street was open for everyone, so everyone was using it. Street was quite a chaotic environment, covered with horse manure and cutted from time to time by speeding carriages, but as it goes with disorder, reigned on her some sort of liberty and freedom. I would like to add this feeling to the definition, the idea to bring the street back to basics and return this lost space in the hands of citizens. Woonerf creates a new form of urban space in which everyone, cars, pedestrians, trams and cyclists move together in harmony. With priority for walking users, before forced to slow down motorized ones. Woonerf is the final product of reinventing small streets in downtowns all over the western World. The idea to take the street to the origins, when it was a space for citizens and for the city, and Technical Oxford Living Dictonary definition just states a tools to create it. Case of the Polish woonerf became good experimental ground for different models of citizen participation. This article confronts participants of described process with each other in selective relations on all phases of the creation, allowing us to see advantages and disadvantages in all of the relations. As a basis for analysis I chose models from two existing publications, Sherry R. Armstein paper titled „A Ladder of Citizen Participation” from 1969 and „Public Participation in Planning: New Strategies for the 21st Century” by Judith E. Innes and David E. Booher from Institute of Urban and regional Development UC Berkeley published in 2000. Process of rebuilding the 6th Sierpnia street started almost two years before the actual construction work began. Many stakeholders have been involved in the proces, as they have their rights and duties as well as goals and priorities. Each investment in changing public space using public funds requires conducting, defined by acts of law, tenders or consultations. This required order was revised in the analized example, in our case study consultation with citizens were not obligatory at this stage of the process. The need of organizing them ocure when initiators realized how strong might be the argument of support of the closest inhabitants in negotiations with Municipal Office. At the end many participants were involved in the proces of creation of the first woonerf in Lodz. By studying the relations between stakeholders we can gather the knowledge about science of social participation, communication planning, in the regional and local startegy of development planning processes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: woonerf, city street, small public space, spcial participation, transport planning
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
Depositing User: Maria Molnár
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2017 07:08
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2017 07:08
URI: http://repository.corp.at/id/eprint/401

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