MSR Lab conference 2014

Towards wiser cities and better living

September 20, Gdansk University of Technology, Gdansk, Poland

Students, PhD students, young academics and practitioners were invited to present their research, science topics and projects about forces, processes, consequences & intentions and visions of urban transformations. The conference would be an occasion to share the outcomes of previous and above all current research work and design and to consult them with the Mentors (ISCOCARP members) involved in MSRL project. Ongoing research works were also invited for discussion with the audience and the Mentors during the event.

Core themes of the conference:

Urban Transformations:

  • Post-socialist transformation of European cities
  • Public space in XXI century – the ways of design implementation and revitalization
  • Scenarios for urban sprawl and new mobility
  • Smart infrastructure for cities and communities
  • Geography and place versus virtuality
  • Values and worldviews in future urbanization
  • Cities of the future and sustainable urban visions

Core Themes of the Conference

Public Space: Design Manual
Mentor: Richard Stephens
Team: Marta Rusin, Potulska Marta, Jessika Kreps, Alina Grędzicka, Patryk Czajka, Małgorzata PotockaThe public space plays an important role in the urban structure of each city. It contributes to the strengthening of the social sphere and the use of free time  through recreation, education and many other dimensions. The only question is: how can it be designed to become an incredible place loved by citizens? Our manual gives the answer.

Smart infrastructure for waterfront cities: Case study of Gdynia
Mentor: Alexander Boakye Marful
Team: Igor Szóstakowski, Maria Dembska, Joanna Jaczewska, Agnieszka Kozielska, Krzysztof Stefaniak, Alicja Baranowska

The main focus of team’s research are smart solutions for infrastructure, especially in context of waterfront cities. After a thorough analysis of the terms itself – waterfront cities, smart infrastructure – the team has done research in the field of existing smart infrastructure in EU, in Poland and in Tri-City as well as described the present conditions for development of such systems. A study of Gdynia, divided into different thematic areas (such as history, land use & housing, natural environment, transportation system etc) has helped the team identify problems which are a result of the current state of infrastructure. As an answer to these problems the team has proposed smart solutions, along with an insight on possible applicability in other locations.

Improving Sustainable Mobility
Mentor: Christian Horn
Team: Mobility Boosters: Łukasz Skiba, Paulina Wiliszewska, Natalia Balcerzak, Przemysław Wójcik, Przemysław Barszczewski, Aleksandra Lukaszun

In the Mentor & Student Research Lab, the Mobility Boosters team worked on getting the Tri-City ready for the major changes in urban mobility. We looked on shifting the transport from motorized to active modes of mobility, to enhance intermodal connection with public transport and to reduce the need of transport in the TriCity by an intelligent urban development.

In a first step research on innovation was done on European cities to better understand the changes that took place in the last years. In a second step the actual situation of active mobility in the Tri-City has been analysed and the team interviewed some key actors of the metropolitan area. Base on the research, the analysis and the interviews, we propose short and long term improvements for the Tri-City to change mobility behaviours, as sustainable cities are attractive cities.

Baltic Cities on the Southern Coast: Improving by learning from each other
Mentor: Markus Appenzeller
Team: Piotr Żelaznowski, Monika Dąbrowska, Bolesław Słociński, Sylwia Różańska, Nina Bloch, Anna Rubczak

The southern shore of the Baltic Sea in the last 100 years has seen a regular shift of borders and spheres of influence. What once was independent became Germany to become part of the Soviet Union and then independent again. What once was part of the communist sphere now is part of the European Union.
25 years after the fall of the iron curtain, this research is looking at the development of medium sized coastal cities and identifies the steps, the processes and the tools these cities have gone through. Assessed against am ‘Ideal Baltic City’, the accumulation of all successful aspects of the development in the different cities, it becomes obvious where the individual cities have deficits. The profile derived for each city gives a good overview of what the next steps could be and which of the other cities included in the study to learn from.

What kind of cities are we building? What kind of cities do we want to build?
Re-viewing three different urban developments in metropolitan areas.
Mentor: Oscar Bragos
Team: Anna Wilde, Agata Hinca, Anna Wolska, Beata Tranda, Karolina Zajączkowska, Piotr Smolnicki

The contemporary world is a highly urbanized world. This urbanized world presents new challenges for local governments, specialists, stakeholders and the citizenship in general. Sustainability, social inclusion and mobility, are listed as the most important challenges to face. Challenges that have to do mainly with the model of urbanization that it is promoted to guide urban growth.
But, many times, in this process of urbanization is still observed the reiteration of trends and models that are not oriented according to a model of equitable and sustainable urban development.
Therefore, this research proposes to analyze three recent urban developments in metropolitan areas that correspond to three different contexts of urban development.
The research tries to focus on sustainable urban development and, for this study; it is assumed that sustainable urban development means:

a- an efficient use of resource land and of energy;
b- the development of public transport; and
c- an effective and correct urban growth management.

It is also assumed that sustainable urban development is not only related with “green” topics. It is also related with socio-economic conditions and with institutional issues. This means that the cities have different starting points when we analyze the processes of urbanization and that, therefore there will be no unique solutions when we think about proposals for a sustainable urban development.
The research intends to submit different cases to see what kind of city is being built. And, of the three cases analyzed, learn some lessons that guide us to better determine what kind of city we want (and we can) build.

Presentation Abstracts

Historic centre of Gdansk as an unique example of post-war socialist city creation
Łukasz Bugalski

Gdansk historic city centre was completely devastated after War World Two. In incoming years a redevelopment of that destroyed in 90 percent area became an unique example of post-war socialist city creation. Nowadays the urban structure of historic centre of Gdansk remains as a chronological record of socialist city development. In turn in first post-war years modern plan called ‚Gdansk 1946′ occurred and consequently in 1949 started a reconstruction of Main Town related with ‚Polish school of conservation’, unrealised competition projects from 1953 of new socialist realism city centre, rebuilding of Old Town which could be compare with similar very important realisation in Szczecin, rebuilding of Old Suburbs as a completely new modern housing district which could be compare with other realisation in Malbork. Finally in late 60′ transport functions started to dominate urban planning and no more big projects were realised on area of Gdansk historic city centre. Today transformation of post-socialist city are mainly very chaotic and unplanned – only projects in architecture scale are realised. Still there remain a quastion of the value of Gdansk historic city centre as an unique record of development of post-socialist city which transformation leads to its destruction.

Rough friendship? Latest discussion on city projects financing between mayor and marshal
Jan Frankowski

In the context of urban policy it is not only important to propose the optimal solutions in areas such transport, public design, smart infrastructure, but also to provide the best financial instruments for its implementation. In 2014 we can observe in Poland the discussion between the most important regional stakeholders, city mayors and regional marshals, concerning the scale, scope and way of support for urban projects. Interestingly, despite the fact that the position of a regional marshal has increased, a mayor still has stronger position in administration system. The aim of this presentation is to show the final results of the negotiation process between them. The research study is based on desk research of the new operational programmes and the media articles. As a result, the biggest conflict had been identified in the voivodeships with two capitals and the regions with strong position of metropolitan area in opposite to the rest of the region. Consequently, it can be stated that friendship even between stakeholders from the same political party is quite rough.

Urban fears
Patrycja Grzyś

During the last decade discourse of safety in the contemporary cities has gained a huge popularity. Urban problems are not longer only the matter of professionals, but also have become a common problem of every member of the city. One of these issues is fear that occurs in urban areas. City as an environment with high population density easily generates the possibility of losing a sense of security or its real loss. Meanwhile a sense of security is one of the basic human needs and inability to ensure it poses a serious problem for the city residents, as potential endangered, as well as for spatial planners, architects and urban planners as creators of these spaces and often accomplices of this feeling.
Fear is always related to human existence but only in the urban environment it takes on a new dimension. Urban space can be both generator of fear or in contrary it can neutralize it. Appropriate urban space management is a huge contributor to the fact that people feel safe and comfortable in some places and don’t feel it at all at the others – where spaces are designed only in the terms or technical or economic conditions. Therefore, spatial planning as a field drawing on the various sciences should take into account beyond purely economic or technical factors also those behavioral one.
Adapting to the changing conditions and by elimination of hazards through the appropriate urban design is one of the basic forms of security. At the moment, in the era of market economy, when security has become from the basic need or value to a fully commercialized product urban design provides a tool that are likely to improve the perception of the city, through the improvement of its form.

Post socialist single family house estates in Wrocław.  Present conditions and problems with its modernization
Zuzanna Napieralska

The idea of modernization and reconstruction  buildings from the socialism epoque is undertaken in many works. Very often, however, the subject divides public opinion. Many people are unaware of architectural potential of those buildings, considering them, mainly as the evidence of communism system.
Unfortunately, there is still no protection policy of the post socialist modern architecture heritage, which would include objects from the 50s to 80s of 20th century (monuments protection statute).
The article will present the results of the research into the present state  of conservation of selected types of single family housing  estates from Polish socialism. The types of housing, chosen for the research, were realized with the Typical Single Family Residential Catalogues (projects presented in those catalogues were usually included into a bank credit program).   I would also present the post socialist groups of single family houses,  in their interesting and well-planned urban scale in Wrocław and indicate their positive and negative aspects.
The result of  research will attempt to establish the direction of a typical single-family building transformation over the last 20 years. The study will also aim to create the criteria for the evaluation process of modernization such as: technical condition of the building and media, the possibility of  adapting a functional scheme to the changing social  needs, new building regulations and economics.

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