Let’s Talk about Revitalisation – Local Development Forum Seminar account
Local Government Units are to benefit from i.a. advisory assistance and support in implementing municipal revitalisation programmes, as part of the third edition of the “Revitalisation Regions” project.

This was the 45th Local Development Forum cyclical seminar to be organised by the Association of Polish Cities. This time, participants were invited to the seat of the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy in Warsaw.

Seminar goals included the kick-off of another edition of initiatives to support revitalisation efforts in Poland in collaboration with Marshals’ Offices and the National Institute of Cultural Heritage. Funding revitalisation activities from regional programmes was one of the topics discussed.

Revitalisation is a topic of enormous interest to cities and towns. The meeting in Warsaw was attended by over 200 municipal representatives, over 400 individuals joining the session online.

Deputy minister of Development Funds and Regional Policy Jacek Protas reminded those present that revitalisation is a comprehensive tool of stimulating local development and changing the face of Polish cities and municipalities in social, economic and spatial terms. “While in use for many years, the Revitalisation Law having been in force since 2015, the tool itself is certainly underestimated and underused in comparison with levels we would have wished for,” minister Jacek Protas said. “Moreover, given the ever-changing world and social and economic environment, revitalisation issues will always apply. Regardless of the development level we might be representing, we will be facing incessant infrastructural change and social change problems waiting to be resolved”.

Director of the Association of Polish Cities Office Andrzej Porawski recollected that the current Revitalisation Law was based on a draft submitted by the Association of Polish Cities and Silesian Union of Municipalities and Counties, although the original local government corporations’ version had been considerably better, the Director emphasised. In view of the pivotal seminar theme, he further pointed to co-operation between local and regional governments. “While Poland still tends to be a scene of something akin to competition, the Polish government model designed by professors Kulesza and Regulski is one based on partnership. It is worth our while to make sure that such partnership is put to good use whenever feasible, as it is always a source of synergy and improved development”, Andrzej Porawski accentuated.

The seminar agenda included a presentation of good revitalisation practices at three Polish locations: Włocławek, Tomaszów Mazowiecki and Hrubieszów. “Good practices followed by ‘Local Development’ Programme municipal beneficiaries are an exemplar we hope to replicate and discuss,” said minister Jacek Protas.

Włocławek used Programme funding i.a. to improve social integration among local residents, and boost social bonding.

Tomaszów Mazowiecki allocated funding to the drafting and delivery of the comprehensive “ECO-positive Tomaszów” ecological education programme, and adapting public space to heatwave and urban heat island-related climate threats.

Hrubieszów municipality is planning to develop integration conditions, introduce organisation and order to urban space while adapting it to meet the needs of senior citizens and persons with disabilities. A decision was also made to fund projects helping prevent climate change and adapt the township accordingly, and introduce ecological means of transport.

The debate was an attempt to answer the question regarding a desirable revitalisation format to stimulate the field of revitalisation itself while contributing to quality development throughout urban space.