Ecological Centre of Warsaw as a Development Path

Ecological Centre of Warsaw as a Development Path

Krystyna Gruszecka (Warsaw University of Technology, Poland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7958-8.ch006
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The purpose of this chapter is to present a new development path towards greening the city center of Warsaw in the context of the increasing density of building development in recent years. After the process of urban sprawl, there has been a tendency to concentrate buildings, especially in the city center. Currently, a new idea and the need to improve the climate in the city is being born. The aim is to convert dispersed green areas into a continuous network of corridors and green spaces, comprising the city center on both sides of the Vistula River. The future structure of green areas in the central part of Warsaw will be built as an element of bioeconomy. According to this new pattern of urban greenery, larger green enclaves will be connected by corridors created out of necessity along densely built-up streets. Such elements as green walls, green roofs with decorative greenery and food crops, pocket greenery, as well as urban farms (e.g., algae energy generation) will complement buildings, foster healthy environment, and create the opportunity to enjoy pastimes.
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20 years ago, in the 1990s, development with regards to green areas was treated as a natural asset of cities of all sizes in Poland1. In the 20th century, Warsaw had a radial system of green wedges converging in the centre.2 The Study of Conditions and Directions of Spatial Development of the Capital city of Warsaw, adopted in 2006 in the new reality of the democratic system, apparently extensively allowed for construction projects in these green wedges, with the exception only the Vistula River valley together with the adjacent open green areas. The Vistula River valley played a significant role in ventilating urban built-up zone.

Modernist principles of building urban structures in the form of areas of residence, work and rest, the latter which were most often dominated by greenery, provided the standard of urban activities. During communist rule until 1989, there were limitations in terms of the possibility to register in the capital new residents from outside Warsaw. Freedom of movement that appeared in the 90s immediately caused urban sprawl - migration of Warsaw residents to suburban areas in search of areas of residence with better health conditions, preferably in proximity to the forests surrounding the city. On the other hand, new people started settling in Warsaw, especially its downtown, mainly in search of permanent employment or in order to rent a flat.


The research methods adopted in this chapter are aimed at gathering and analyzing sources, including planning documents, available publications, individual designs directly in the field, as well as results of competitions and scientific theories, which have been successfully applied in other Western European countries. The current trends in urban greenery planning, several revitalization projects, both completed and awaiting their implementation, have also been described.

The following course and sequence of description of the issues have been established:

  • The distribution of parks within the present center of Warsaw: contemporary, historical and already constituting national heritage, squares, protected areas, such as Natura 2000 - areas belonging to the network of protected natural areas in the territory of the European Union, in order to preserve specific habitats and valuable species of wildlife. Warsaw is the only city in this part of Europe, in which Natura 2000 areas are located in in the city center;

  • Principles and examples of incorporating green enclaves into a network system comprising the city center and connected with other districts - methods and specific actions (street greenery / rows of trees, a footbridge across the Vistula River, pocket greenery, green roofs and walls as well as green energy-generating urban farms, also in the form of air-purifying drips);

  • Creation of a greenery system in the city center, combined with other selected service functions to provide new conditions for the development of the city - spaces eagerly visited by residents and tourists;

  • The starting point for the above considerations will be the analysis of the existing functions supporting the greenery system (summer Chopin concerts in the Ujazdowski Park, presentations of the Warsaw Water Filters during the Night of Museums as a great monument of urban engineering culture from the late nineteenth century, National Library in the Mokotow Field - the historical airport for gliders, sports fields and facilities, meeting places for the local community, integration centers, dining facilities in these areas and other income-generating, and, at the same time, attractive offerings, which also contribute to the creation of user-friendly space.

The final conclusions concern specific changes in the development of the green areas in the center of Warsaw, aimed not only at improving health conditions, but also at achieving economic successes by selecting the appropriate accompanying program, but also leading to the creation of the attractive spatial form of the new development attracting new users of the area. All efforts for and contributions to bioeconomy of the future will be highlighted.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Green Ventilating Wedges: Green open spaces that allow the flow of fresh air.

Traffic Generators: Places which attract the largest number of space users; attractive spaces that encourage people to spend time in them and use all facilities, innovations, educational elements, opportunities for recreation and practicing various forms of sport.

Natura 2000: Areas belonging to the network of protected natural areas in the territory of the European Union, in order to preserve specific habitats and valuable species of wildlife.

Greening Strategy: A strategy for improving the health of residents; the investments planned for implementation until 2020 set the directions for improving the living conditions in Warsaw.

Warsaw: Capital of Poland, among 22 cities in other countries, is already perceived as the world's metropolis.

Green Urban Network: System of parks, green open spaces and public squares in the area of the city.

Center of Warsaw: The central borough of the city of Warsaw.

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