Poznan with a new vision of development

The city council has adopted a resolution on the new Study of Conditions and Directions for Spatial Development of Poznań. Among other things, the document extends the protection of urban nature and introduces "greenery connectors" that will include major pedestrian and bicycle routes. The study also envisages strengthening the revitalization process and developing new residential neighborhoods.

Graphic showing the city's development directions suggesting important areas of the new development vision. - grafika artykułu
Visualisation of directions for city development

A study is a planning document that covers the entire city. It sets out general guidelines for where, for example, parks, apartment blocks or sports facilities can be built, and in what area office buildings, warehouses or roads. The document also provides the basis for subsequent, more detailed studies, namely local development plans.

The existing study was passed in 2014 and needed to be adjusted to modern realities. On July 11, the new document was adopted by city councilors, introducing 16 amendments to it, covering a total of 99 unanswered comments. They mainly concerned increasing green areas and completing the connector system.

- Poznań, like other major cities around the world, is facing the challenges of climate change. Therefore, one of the most important goals of the new study is to protect the city's nature. We are expanding the city's green space system, as well as designating connecting links along major road sections, which will allow residents to bike or walk between neighborhoods while surrounded by nature. In total, the green areas will occupy 413 hectares more than in the previous study, says Jacek Jaskowiak, the mayor of Poznań.

Greenery will come

The study is divided into 6 main objectives. One of them is the "City of Green and Blue Grid." This is Poznań's response to the consequences of global warming. The provisions of the document preserve the natural structure, based on the wedge-ring system of the city, but also develop these assumptions, covering the protection of neighborhood green areas with an area of more than 0.5 hectares, and not 1 hectare as before.

So far, areas of 9487, 85 hectares have been protected throughout the city. In the new study, green areas are as much as 9900.95 hectares.

In addition, the new regulations introduce connectors between green wedges and neighborhood vegetation areas. These are the most important pedestrian or bicycle routes along at least one row of trees or shrubs. They are intended to increase accessibility to green areas. Examples of similar - already existing - solutions are Niepodległości Avenue or Wielkopolska Avenue.

The new study also indicates the approximate location of some 200 retention basins throughout the city.

New housing developments

The spatial policy enshrined in the new study also envisages strengthening revitalization processes, thus realizing the idea of "Return to the City."

- The priority is to use urbanized and developed areas, especially those where access to existing infrastructure is provided. New residential areas will be developed based on convenient access to public transportation, green spaces and local service centers. This means both the development of new peripheral neighborhoods and investments in the downtown area," notes Bartosz Guss, deputy mayor of Poznań.

The study, as a strategic document, remains at a rather general level. For key areas, it requires the preparation of comprehensive urban planning concepts, only on the basis of which will be drafted local development plans. Comprehensive concepts will allow better planning of new neighborhoods, taking into account the needs of residents, such as access to greenery, public transportation or services.

An example is the already drafted development concepts for Strzeszyn. Such plans will also be created for Wolne Tory, the northern part of Ostrów Tumski, Komandoria, Kobylegopol, Morasko, Garaszewo, or the areas in Poznań's Starołęka.

In the case of the downtown area, the new study also indicates the locations of new residential districts that may be built in the vicinity of three transportation hubs - railroad stations: Poznań Główny, Poznań Garbary and Poznań Wschód. These are: Wolne Tory, the area of the Old Slaughterhouse and the grounds of the former Garbary Combined Heat and Power Plant, Ostrów Tumski and the area of Krańcowa Street.

There are also provisions in the new study that allow for the conversion of shopping centers into service and residential areas.

City of short distances and convenient transportation

Another study assumption is "City of convenient transportation." The idea is to reduce the accessibility of the inner city to automobile traffic in favor of public transportation. The model sets out a basic road system, based on transportation frameworks, as well as streetcar routes led primarily to residential areas. These elements are supported by bicycle routes, while the Wartostrada and the Lakes Route connect both radial roads extending from the center and residential streets.

"Mosaic city," on the other hand, implies combining multiple functions, such as residential and commercial development. It is also about enriching residential neighborhoods with greenery and creating local service centers.

"City of short distances" is an assumption under which meeting the daily needs of residents is possible in their close proximity, without the need to travel by car.

Another assumption is "City of synergy." The spatial policy indicated in the study responds to the need to synchronize public and private activities, based on the principle of shared responsibility for the city.

Public consultation

Work on the new study began in 2020. During the creation of the document, city planners discussed its provisions with residents, entrepreneurs, NGOs or neighborhood councils. Two stages of public consultations were held. The finished draft was put out for public review. By January 27, 2023, 817 letters containing a total of 5277 comments had been received - many of which, however, concerned the same issues. The Municipal Urban Planning Laboratory extracted 1,200 spatial issues from them.

In the final version of the document, 224 issues identified in the comments were taken into account, 617 were introduced into the document in part, and 368 were rejected. However, many of the comments were disregarded for formal as well as substantive reasons - the postulates contained in them could not be implemented based on the study's provisions.

- As part of the 3-year work on the draft study, we also took into account a number of postulates from the public at earlier stages of its preparation. These include, for example, the preservation of greenery in the areas of Poznań forts, the transformation of Szyc Stadium into a city park, or the protection of a large area in the vicinity of Lake Kierskie from development," stresses Natalia Weremczuk, director of the Municipal Urban Planning Studio.

The resolution on the Study of Conditions and Directions for Spatial Development of the City of Poznań comes into force on the date of adoption.

The document can be read on the website of the Municipal Urban Planning Studio.