Participatory approach to regeneration processes in polish cities and regions

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Cities are changing day by day - they are in the constant circle of life - arising, decaying, reviving. However, their changes are mostly connected with its users - nowadays we can observe increasing participation of inhabitants, local activists and non-governmental organizations in the urban regeneration processes (Żylski, 2014). Authors present the impact of EU Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 on regeneration processes which are implemented in Polish towns, cities and metropolis when emphasizing general formal and legal framework including examination of the possible distribution of EU funds for regeneration projects within the regional operational programs. Authors focus on different approaches to the implementation of Cohesion Policy in Polish regions - and researched into Pomeranian province and Mazovian Voivodship as study cases. First, there is a need to establish definition needed to the research. The definition of the regeneration process used in the research comes from the Polish legislation (Act on regeneration, 2015). The regeneration process is defined as ‘a process of counteracting crisis situation in the degraded areas, lead in complex approach due to integrated actions in favor of local community, space and economy, concentrated territorial, conducted by regeneration stakeholders, basing on local regeneration program’. Moreover, it is important that the groups of stakeholders are also listed there. Among them, inhabitants of the area, owners, perpetual users, administrators, other inhabitants, local entrepreneurs, units of local government are mentioned. The importance of various stakeholders’ participation is also mentioned in The Guidelines for regeneration actions in operational programs 2014-2020 prepared by Polish Ministry of Economic Development (2016). Participatory approach is important for the social dimension of the regeneration. Participation of the local communities and multiple stakeholders in reimagining and reinventing public spaces. Moreover, it strengthens the connection between the place and its users (Placemaking and the future of city – draft, 2012). The pioneer in the placemaking – community-based approach to the regeneration process - is U.S. nongovernmental organization Project for Public Spaces which has helped numerous communities in creatina public spaces together. Basing on the polish legislation, the participatory approach consists of preparation, leading and evaluation the regeneration process ensuring the active participation of stakeholders during consultations and works of The Regeneration Committee (JL, 2015). In that part of the research, more important than the definition of participation method is the methodology of it. There is a growing need for authorities but especially for communities to understand that the consultation of the regeneration process is not the only activity for various actors to participate the whole process. Creighton James L. (2005) in his publication mentioned 4 steps of Continuum of participation: 1. Inform the public, 2. Listen to the public, 3. Engage in problem solving, 4. Develop agreements. However, the step: ‘Engage in problem solving’ is the most extensive in tools for co-operation between various actors. Moreover, Sherry Arnstein (1969) evolved eight-rung Ladder of Citizen where the highest rungs are 'Delegated Power' and 'Citizen control' what shows how much citizen are able to do. The rightness of choosing the participatory approach for the urban planning involves Jane Jacobs’ philosophy - ‘Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody’ (Jacobs, 2014).
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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