In 2030 Poznań is supposed to become a city full of bridges and canals, whose life is centered upon the river. There are already some places where we can imagine more or less what it might look like.
Before we become a leader in Poland, we have to make up for the loss in relation to those who have already earlier got interested in their rivers.
Wrocław 100 Wrocław bridges
The capital of the Lower Silesia most severely felt the presence of the Oder river in 1997 during the great flood. The city residents, however, did not turn away from the river.
“We have over a hundred bridges, a countless number of canals, islands and peninsulas – they all create an occasion to be near the water. No other city has such potential.” , says Kamil Zaremba, one of Wrocław’s most zealous advocates of the return to the river and the resident of the first house on water in Poland. It is hard to argue with him. Wrocław really lives on the water. In the center, there are several rental boats and kayaks and in summer days on Wyspa Piaskowa (Sand Island) it is difficult to find a piece of free space on a lawn; a bit further in the marina at Most Uniwersytecki (the University Bridge) private motorboats and sailboats swing on the waves. In recent years on the Odra and Oława rivers a few apartment buildings with the obligatory access to piers or a small marina have grown. The city authorities also carry out a highly valued by specialists programme for revitalization of Nadodrze – poor and neglected district located a few hundred metres from the market. In a few years it is to become an enclave of artists and an alternative for Stare Miasto (the Old Town).
Szczecin also approaches the matter of its river with an impetus. Within this city there are as many as twenty-six islands. Some of them are getting overgrown with meadows, others are used by allotment gardeners, and on yet others the wretched remains of shipbuilding splendor are visible. This picture is going to change soon. By the end of 2013, Szczecin will spend over 160 million zlotys on such investments as the new Philharmonic, Yacht Marina, riverside boulevards or a bathing area Arkonka with a lot of water and beach attractions.
“All of that will be situated on the river to which Szczecin has been constantly returning since 2008”, says Piotr Landowski from the Press Office of Szczecin magistrate.
For the time being, however, the banks of the river in Szczecin are a great construction site. The city is also preparing a plan for management of the five largest islands of presently neglected Międzyodrze. “You will find there prestigious apartment buildings and space for commerce, entertainment and services”, says Landowski with enthusiasm. All of that is a part of Floating Gardens concept, carried out by the city authorities. Malicious observers note, however, that the vision of riverside idyll is quite distant in time because its creation is planned till the end of 2050.
Small river of great opportunities
The potential present in a river is, however, best shown in the example of Bydgoszcz, which in a few years have become a model for others. The city, located on the tiny Brda river, made use of the river as early as in 2004. And it has not failed. Everything began with the building of the riverside headquarters of one of the banks in Bydgoszcz. The building became a permanent part of the city’s landscape, as well as of the history of contemporary Polish architecture. Then Wyspa Młyńska (the Mill Island) was transformed – from neglected quarters of misery and sorrow into one of the city’s showpieces . With time, in Bydgoszcz a marina and a kayak harbour were created. (the Brda is a popular waterway in the region). Recently the province and city authorities announced a nearly PLN 12 million worth programme for the revitalization of the riverside Boulevards together with the construction of four new stops for the water tram, functioning here since 2004. All this caused that today when you come to Bydgoszcz, you actually come on the Brda.