The core of the "Od-Nowa Huta" project was the development of four round tables in four different languages at which experts from six countries were invited to explain success stories and major issues related to post-industrialisation processes such as the one affecting the Nowa Huta neighbourhood. Architecture, history, sociology were therefore some of the main aspects.
The roundtables were often moderated by Polish professionals or professionals living in Poland, which favoured dialogue and the contrast of experiences. The impact has been remarkable: on the one hand it has consolidated the structure and influence of the young EUNIC cluster in Krakow, on the other hand it has attracted the attention of the local authorities and in particular of the City Council.
The stay in Cracow and Nowa Huta of the experts from different European countries was also very inspiring for both parties. First, it encouraged dialogues between European cultures. Second, the discussions and the visit of Nowa Huta gave new ideas to the architects invited for their own projects back home.
The project has helped the members of the cluster to broaden their spectrum of activity beyond the conventional artistic disciplines, and for the local society to understand sensitivity towards the issues that affect them, as is the case of this neighbourhood of Nowa Huta, which is fighting for a new model of city that is rather detached from its original conception. The project reiterated that the commitment of the City of Krakow is an expression of the welcome of this renewed spirit of cooperation. Furthermore, the meetings between different professionals from 6 European countries and Poland were a start for potential future projects.
Since the place where the event took place, was a very new place in Nowa Huta, the project has made this place better known among the inhabitants of Cracow and Nowa Huta. In a way, this project has humbly secured the jobs of the staff of Dom of Utopia.
Challenges and Learnings
The project was succesful in many aspects, including the generous teamwork, the suitability of the chosen venue, the quality of the four round tables, the weight of the complementary activities - guided tour for experts and theatre play - the remarkable attendance, the decisive institutional and material contribution of the City of Krakow. However, there was missing an involvement of the local architects' associations.
One of the main challenges was the pandemic situation, which, however, did not reduce the drive and faith of the cluster. Another challenge was to schedule an event in a territory far away from the centre of Krakow.
I am grateful for the invitation to the discussion panel on Nowa Huta district of Cracow city organised by EUNIC. The opportunity to share experiences with architects and urban planners from six European countries was invaluable. Such co-operation should play significant role in promoting European urban culture and knowledge as well as building cohesion of societies – especially citizens of the European Union.Ewa Heczko, Hyłowa, PhD architect, Academic town planner