#Warszawa2030 /  #Warsaw2030
Conference launching the work on the new Warsaw’s spatial development conditions and directions study

Warsaw’s spatial development conditions and directions study is a strategic document defining the spatial policy in the entire capital. It contains guidelines for building development, green spaces, communication layout, and protection of monuments and shaping of spatial order, which are then laid out in more detail in local plans. The study must be consistent with the city’s development strategy, i.e. the most general document defining what the city is meant to be like.

Warsaw is currently finalising its new strategy, #Warsaw2030, addressing all dimensions of life in the city: from the economy to education, health, and leisure. With the adoption of the strategy by the City Council, work will begin on a new study with a time horizon to 2045.

Organised by the Architecture and Spatial Planning Department, the conference is the first step towards creating a new planning document for Warsaw. It is also an opportunity to get to know everyone who will be working on the study, to exchange contact details and work together in interdisciplinary workshop teams.

Go to:

CREATING THE STUDY! Conference, lectures, and workshops programme.
Location: WARSZAWA, ul. Szwedzka 2/4, hall nr 8, szwedzka.com

May 9th (Wednesday)

10:00 Registration

10:30–11:10 Welcome/Introduction

  • Michał Olszewski, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw

  • Marlena Happach, Director of the Architecture and Spatial Planning Department, Warsaw City Hall

  • Piotr Sawicki, deputy director of the Architecture and Spatial Planning Department, Warsaw City Hall

  • Bartosz Rozbiewski. A report on the state of the city – key challenges for Warsaw

11:10–12:40 Lectures, part I

  • Joanna Kusiak. Report on the state of the city

This lecture will map the sources of Warsaw’s spatial chaos. In our city planning, how can we take into account processes that take place on different geographical – from district to international – levels? How can we foster the ‘institutional density’ of the city? On a local level, how, if at all, can we control problems resulting from nation-wide regulations?

  • Anne Stenros. QUO VADIS? – From a smart city to human-centred urbanism

Today’s cities are global powerhouses of economy, innovation, and creativity. They produce the majority of global wealth, accommodate the most possibilities for innovation, and cultivate cultural diversity. There are five factors that enhance urban creativity and innovativeness: multiple layers of culture, a sense of freedom, a feeling of vitality, an ease of living, and a sense of a uniqueness stemming from shared urban narratives.

  • Ivari Rannama. Collective Planning

The presentation focuses on co-creative planning possibilities in a municipality. How can digital solutions support spatial planning processes? Presenter will share the Tallinn experience and the lessons learned from the Tallinn Planning Register and the development of the AvaLinn mobile app.

12:40–13:20 Lunch break

13:20–15:20 Lectures, part II

  • Łukasz Pancewicz. Recent Polish experiences: Gdańsk, Wrocław, Łódź

In the past year, three large cities – Gdańsk, Wrocław and Łódź – have already adopted or are in the process of concluding the preparation of documents for this Study. It is now possible to compare how did different local authorities and their plannings deal with the new formula of this document. Such comparison leads to a more important question – does the Study allow for effective management of the city and how can it be used as its basis

  • Han Dijk (Posad). Integrated spatial and urban planning

Posad  works on a better world. A healthy, safe and sustainable environment is our goal. As pioneers, we discover this important social task. We use drawings for discussions, reveal opportunities and sketch realistic future scenarios based on facts. In the end, our spatial strategies contribute to necessary changes. Dijk’s lecture will give insight into how the Dutch planning culture is a base for Posad’s projects and will show the integral plan that Posad has made for the city of Rotterdam, as an example of our work.

  • Katarzyna Sadowy. How to benefit from, and further develop, Warsaw’s economy, science, and innovation?

Warsaw is meant to be a friendly city, where one can work and live well, a democratic city that can cope with the uncertainties of the future. What is the place of economy, science, and innovation in such a city? What are the links and relationships between these three areas? How do they affect urban space and what kind of urban spaces do they need? This lecture will attempt to provide answers to these questions.

  • Kuba Snopek. What can Warsaw learn from other cities while planning its development? On example of selected cities from the former Eastern Bloc: Warsaw – Kiev – Kharkov – St. Petersburg – Samara – Togliatti

Despite regional differences, all communist countries shared a fairly coherent urban planning and construction philosophy. The fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the USSR caused the disintegration of this shared thinking. Today, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and other post-communist countries are actively changing their urban spaces. They re-establish planning institutions; supplement the urban fabric of their cities; create new buildings and public spaces. A comparison of these parallel practices leads to surprising conclusions. On the one hand, it shows that different players can solve similar spatial problems in entirely different ways. On the other, it appears that fairly similar-looking spaces can be the result of completely different intentions and strategic actions. Snopek’s aim is to place Polish urban and spatial planning in the context of the fashionable post-Soviet ‘urban planning’.

15:20–16:20 Discussion: The new Study for Warsaw – where do we begin?

  • Renata Kaznowska, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw

  • Maciej Fijałkowski, Director of the European Funds & Development Policy Department

  • Marlena Happach, Director of the Architecture and Spatial Planning Department

  • Paweł Lisicki, Deputy Director of the Environmental Protection Department

  • Moderator: Bogna Świątkowska, director of Bęc Zmiana Foundation

16:20–16:30 Coffee break

16:30–18:00 Additional programme I

Film screenings organised in collaboration with the BETON Foundation: Rotterdam 2040, director: Gyz La Rivière, Netherlands 2013, 95 minutes, Polish subtitles

Rotterdam 2040 does not feature experts or talking heads. Instead, it offers a suggestive, sometimes absurd, narrative by its director, Gyz La Rivière. Although the film focuses on the architecture and urban renewal of a city severely damaged by air raids during WWII, it is also a tale about people – the past and future residents, whose subjective perceptions of the city lead us through a register of architectural missteps and expectations for the future. www.rotterdam2040.nl

18:00–20:00 Additional programme II (open to the public)
Department of Ideas (open call)

Do you have an idea, a project, or a comment related to the new Study for Warsaw? As part of the actions of the Department of Ideas, we invite submissions of your presentations. Each participant will have a maximum of 10 minutes to present their project, which will be followed by a 5 minute discussion.
Among the already submitted proposals are: Artur Jerzy Filip’s presentation on how the Study can contribute to the development of a more civic Warsaw; Aleksandra Litorowicz and Monika Wróbel’s presentation on the management of public space through art; a presentation by students from the Faculty of Architecture at Warsaw University of Technology about their vision of the Study developed this year; and a talk by Grzegorz Piątek about the challenges faced by the Warsaw Reconstruction Office (the subject of his upcoming book).
Please send applications including the description of the proposed presentation and a short bio to the conference coordinator, Wojciech Kacperski: wkacperski@um.warszawa.pl
The authors of the most interesting proposals will be invited to present.

*Magda Mosiewicz, the originator of the Department of Ideas, i.e. brainstorming for the city, introduced this formula in 2009 as part of the ‘Warsaw under Construction’ [Warszawa w Budowie, WWB] festival organised by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.

May 10th (Thursday)

9:00–10:30 Lectures, part III

Zuzanna Skalska. Who owns the city?

The city is a living organism undergoing constant transformation. Half a century ago, we planned cities and their visions for the future that we are currently living in. Are they well designed? Who is making the decisions? Who owns the city?

10:30–10:45 Coffee break

10:45–13:45 Workshops

  • Justyna Biernacka, Iwo Zmyślony. The challenges of the sustainable city and the real issues faced by its inhabitants – how to reconcile them? Advantages and traps of the ‘design thinking’ approach

Workshop participants will learn about the general principles of the design thinking method and practice its basic techniques, including stakeholder mapping, clustering, role playing, empathy mapping, personas, and braindumping. Starting from an analysis of the results of multilateral public consultations conducted at one of the current spatial development projects in Warsaw, we will try to diagnose the real problems of stakeholders and design ways of solving these problems. The workshop will benefit those interested in ways of reconciling the interests of numerous different parties (e.g. residents, activists, city authorities, developers).

  • Joanna Erbel, Mikołaj Lewicki, Maximilian Mendel. Living in/with the Study – residents, developers, and the city’s perspective

Each city has its own ‘hidden agenda’. A succession of social processes, institutional transformations and the current real estate market processes shape the appeal, or lack thereof, of different areas; the ways of utilising various spaces, both private (with the famous IKEA at the forefront), and public. The workshop will focus on the ‚hidden agenda’ of housing and the property market. On the one hand, we will aim to identify the processes that already determine the relations between residential property investors and residents. On the other hand, we want to identify the various conditions that determine housing issues and can determine the tools available for planning the city’s expansion in the form of developing its construction and housing. Together with the participants, we will try to build scenarios of such relations for various types of building developments.

  • Rafał Kołodziej. Designing the Future

Usually, we think about the future from the perspective of the present time. Perhaps we should do the opposite? Start with the future, and think about what the present would look like. Impossible? According to Futures Thinking’s experts, the future has already happened, although it has not been distributed evenly. That is why our thinking about the future can begin with the changes that are taking place today, on a micro level, in different places around the world. How to think about the future, in order to design probable scenarios, and to notice the significant, early stages of great changes to the ways of urban living and using the city? How to manage a team that will create and implement change in the city of the future? Where to find the signs of the upcoming change in social habits? How to avoid the traps of expert thinking? We particularly invite the participation of project group managers and decision-makers from units responsible for the direction of future actions.

  • Adrian Krężlik, Marek Piwowarski. Optimisation of urban green spaces planning

The aim of this workshop is to define the most important directions for development of green spaces, as well as the analyses, tools, and data necessary to adequately reflect these in the design and wording of the study. The chosen methodology will establish which analyses of existing conditions should be taken into account. The expected result of the workshop will be defining the scope of analyses and data necessary for optimisation and a preliminary inventory of other important routes for development of green spaces to be achieved/included? in the study.

  • Łukasz Pancewicz, Marta Żakowska. Urban standards – challenges found in the new Study

This workshop will be devoted to urban standards, i.e. the guaranteed rights of residents and users of the city to a good quality of living environment. What necessary conditions must new investments meet today, and what conditions should they meet? What regulations are being set by other cities?

  • Natalia Paszkowska, Jakub Szczęsny. Scenarios for designing a city

The theme of this workshop is the process of critical and creative evaluation of the potential of city spaces currently ‘frozen’ in the form of so-called field reserves that, at an unknown future time, might be used for the development of communication infrastructure. The workshop will take the form of a bicycle ride, ‘map in hand’, along the fragment of the never completed Tysiąclecia Avenue, between Łazienkowska Route and the Warszawa Wschodnia Railway Station.

  • Paweł Kaczmarczyk, Przemysław Sadura. Demography of the future and societal challenges in the Study

This workshop is intended for local government and NGO employees, as well as all those interested in shaping the social spaces of cities. We will focus on how the lifestyles of different groups of people, distinguished by their socio-economic status, gender, and other socio-demographic variables (age, native/non-native population, etc.) influence their perceptions of urban space and shape their needs. The aim of the workshop is to develop the ability to identify and respond to specific needs of different groups of users by developing solutions acceptable for different stakeholders and/or adaptable to their expectations. In the first part of the workshop, theoretical foundations (e.g. Bourdieu’s theory, hypotheses explaining the sources of various attitudes towards culturally distinctive groups, etc.), results of research and case studies will be briefly considered. In the second part, these will be discussed with the participants in relation to their own experiences, in order to diagnose the most important challenges related to the design of the social space of cities.

  • Michał Kudłacz. Future economic development of cities.

During this workshop, the economic dimension of the functioning of Polish cities Poland will be discussed. Can one say that the city a business, the mayor – its manager, and the residents, investors, and tourists – its customers? When does such thinking prove useful and when does it prove dangerous? During an interactive session, based on resources and values, the participants will point out the most desirable elements of the city management model. Later, they will point to best practices and shortcomings of planning documents of selected Polish cities.

13:45–14:30 Lunch break

14:30–16:00 Debate: What should Warsaw be like? Visions for a city in a rapidly changing world.

  • Marlena Happach, Director of the Architecture and Spatial Planning Department, Warsaw City Hall

  • Michał Olszewski, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw

  • Marcin Wojdat, Secretary, Warsaw City Hall

  • Ewa P. Porębska, the editor in chief of ‘Architektura-Murator’ monthly

  • Anna Giza, sociologist, deputy rector for development and financial policy at the University of Warsaw

  • Krzysztof Domaradzki, architect and urban planner, assistant professor in the Applied Urban Studies Studio at the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology

  • Moderator: Bogna Świątkowska, director of Bęc Zmiana Foundation

16:00–16:30 Coffee break

16:30–19:30 Additional programme III

Planning workshop with Posad (Emile Revier i Han Dijk)

Revier and Dijk will show the spatial principles of healthy urbanism. In this method, the spatial context of the city, people’s lifestyle and health are used as the base for urban development.



Marlena Happach, an architect and urbanist, is the director of the Architecture and Spatial Planning Department of the  Capital City of Warsaw City Hall and the City Architect of Warsaw. Between 2012 and 2016, she was the president of the Warsaw Branch of the Association of Polish Architects (SARP). She graduated from Warsaw University of Technology’s Faculty of Architecture.



Dr Joanna Kusiak  is a sociologist and researcher of cities. Her research is located at the intersection of urban studies, critical theory and the sociology of law. She currently works at King’s College, Cambridge University. Previously, she worked at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, the University of California in Berkeley, the Humboldt University in Berlin, the University of Vienna, and others. Kusiak is the co-editor of Chasing Warsaw. Socio-Material Dynamics of Urban Change after 1990 (2012) and City-spa. Architecture and sensory programming [Miasto-Zdrój. Architektura i programowanie zmysłów]  (2014). Her latest project examines the role of legal technicalities in urban neoliberalism, and their emancipatory potential for urban movements in Berlin and Warsaw. Her doctorate, which she defended at the Darmstadt University of Technology, was published in Polish under the title Chaos Warsaw (2017).

Dr Łukasz Pancewicz, an architect and urbanist, is a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture at the Technical University of Gdańsk. He gained his professional experience in Poland, Ireland, and the United States. Pancewicz was a member of the Northern District Council of the Chamber of Urban Planners until its dissolvement, a member of the Association of Polish Urban Planners, and ISOCARP. Between 2013-2016, he was the main designer of the Municipal Urban Studio in Łódź, working on the project for a study of the conditions and directions of the city’s spatial development. Pancewicz is also the co-founder of the a2p2 architecture & planning studio. As an expert at the Institute of Urban Development, he worked with the Ministry of Development on the implementation of a pilot revitalisation project, supporting the cities of Wałbrzych, Dąbrowa Górnicza and Starachowice in regards to planning issues. Currently, together with FDRL, he acts as an expert planner in the implementation of the PO WER ‘Public Participation in Spatial Planning and Development’ project. Pancewicz has worked with the OECD on evaluating spatial planning policies in Poland, using the example of Łódź. In 2016, together with the Gdańsk City Hall and an organizational team including Dr Marcin Gerwin and Magdalena Haas, he co-created the first Citizens’ Panel on climate change adaptation.

Posad Spatial Strategies
Han Dijk is a founding partner at Posad Spatial Strategies. He is a lecturer in urban design at the Academy of Architecture in Rotterdam and guest lecturer in the Netherlands and abroad. Dijk is an experienced spatial designer who has worked on complex projects with a large amount of stakeholders, often in a political context. Dijk uses research by design to explore the future of cities on different scale levels. Among examples of his work are the ‘Atelier Almere 2030+’ for the sustainable growth of Almere, the fastest growing Dutch city; ‘LaboXX’ – study of the densification of the 20th century belt of Antwerp; and the ‘Agenda of the City’ – a  spatial  perspective with a time  horizon to 2040. In the past years, he has worked on several projects where transitions of cities, water, mobility and energy played an important role. He was the project leader for the transformation of the railway station areas of Leidschendam-Voorburg, Hoofddorp, and Eindhoven. For the ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, he developed the design principles for a healthy city that are used in several cities in the Netherlands. Dijk has also worked internationally, on large city planning assignments in Sao Paulo (Brasil), Antwerp (Belgium) and the sustainable urban expansion project for UN Habitat in Yangon (Myanmar).

Emile Revier studied in Paris at the Ecole d’Architecture Paris Belleville and the Technical University Delft, where he graduated with a Masters in Architecture. Since January 2012, he has been working as a partner at Posad on a wide array of projects. He works as designer and planner for large-scale urban developments, public transport infrastructure, energy systems, and ecological connections. He worked on several infrastructural projects, such as the A9 highway corridor, the public space for the stations of the tram extension from Amsterdam to Amstelveen, and the new station area of Hoofddorp. He also worked on urban transformations and urban planning projects in The Netherlands and Belgium, such as the transformation of the 20th  century belt of Antwerp.

Ivari Rannama – Director of Geomatics Service, Tallinn Urban Planning Department. Ivari Rannama joined the Tallinn Urban Planning Department in March 2006, where he was first the lead geo-information specialist. For over five years, he has been the director of the Geomatics Service. The main responsibilities of the Geomatics Service are land management, the addressing system, geodetic surveys, topographic mapping, cartography, geo-information systems and the development of Urban Planning Department registers. In recent, years Rannama has participated in developing digital services of Tallinn Planning Register and Tallinn Spatial Data Register. He has taken part in numerous international projects and programmes on developing e-services. One of his recent international co-operations is the Baltic Urban Lab, and one of his recent achievements is the mobile application AvaLinn for co-creative planning. Ivari Rannama is a member and former board member of the Estonian Geo-informatics Society (ESTGIS).

Bartosz Rozbiewski, an urban planner, is head of Spatial Policy in the Architecture and Spatial Planning  Department of the  Capital City of Warsaw City Hall. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Spatial Management at the University of Warsaw and the co-author of the Studies of Conditions and Directions for Spatial Development of various Polish municipalities, several local spatial development plans, and other urban development studies.


Dr Katarzyna Sadowy holds a PhD in economic sciences, is an urban architect, and an expert in interdisciplinary research on the city. She graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology and the Warsaw School of Economics, where she is currently an assistant professor. Sadowy is an active member of the Warsaw Branch of Association of Polish Architects (SARP) and cooperates with the Warsaw City Hall? She is also the author of publications on subjects such as urban economics; the cooperation between local governments, business, and non-governmental organizations; sustainable development; the quality of life and the role of architecture and public space in urban development.


Piotr Sawicki, an architect and urbanist, is the deputy director of the the Architecture and Spatial Planning  Department of the  Capital City of Warsaw City Hall. He leads the department responsible for, among other tasks, the preparation of this Study.


Zuzanna Skalska  is a researcher whose work focuses on trends in innovation design. Born in Poland, she has been living in the Netherlands for 26 years. She studied at the Design Academy in Eindhoven and the Royal Academy of Art and Design in Den Bosch. She has 20 years of professional experience, and has worked, among others, in Philips Design and the VanBerlo design studio. Since 2007, she has been the owner of 360Inspiration, a brand specializing in trend analysis in the broadly understood areas of innovation, design, and business development. Since 2003, she has been among the organisers of the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. She is a lecturer at the TU/e University in Eindhoven and Parsons School of Design in New York. Skalska is also a co-founder of the School of Form (SOF) in Poznań.

Kuba Snopek is an urbanist and researcher of architecture. He graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at the Wrocław University of Technology and the Strelka Institute in Moscow. He has worked with Bjarke Ingels, Rem Koolhaas, and Justin McGuirk and carried out architectural, urban, and academic research projects in Poland, Spain, Denmark, Russia, and the Ukraine. Snopek researches the spaces and heritage of post-communist cities. He is the author of numerous exhibitions and publications, including the book Belyayevo Forever: A Soviet Microrayon on its Way to the UNESCO List published in Polish, Russian and English and c-author of the Architecture of the 7th day project, an architectural monograph of post-war Polish churches. He lectured at the Strelka Institute and at the MGIMO in Moscow.

Dr. Anne Stenros, architect SAFA, is a thought leader on strategic design, creative leadership and strategic foresight, speaking and lecturing around the world. Anne Stenros graduated as Master of Architecture from the University of Oulu and the University of California, Berkeley. She has a doctorate in technology in the field of architectural theory. She has acted as the Managing Director of Design Forum Finland between 1995-2004 and the Executive Director of Hong Kong Design Centre in 2005. During the years 2005-2015, she was the Design Director at KONE Corporation, a world-leader in the design of elevators and escalators. In 2016, she was appointed the first chief design officer of Helsinki. She has been awarded The Gold Estlander Medal (2015) and The Gold Medal of the City of Helsinki (2013). She is a founding member of Women in Tech Finland.


Justyna Biernacka is an  architect, workshop leader/facilitator and a social activist. She graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology and is currently a PhD candidate at the Warsaw School of Economics. Her interests include green housing, sustainable urban development, and closed-loop economy. She is a member of the National  Chamber  of Polish  Architects and the Association of Polish Architects [SARP], where she acts as the Sustainable  Architecture  Plenipotentiary. Biernacka also cooperates with the City of Warsaw on the Warsaw Local Centres pilot project, coordinates the Warsaw Housing Standard project and is the president for urban space at the Spaces Foundation, where she deals with the needs of women in public space (City through the eyes of women, 2012, at the MaMa Foundation, and Central Women’s Square, 2017, together with Patrycja Dołowy).

Joanna Erbel
is a sociologist. She works at the Bureau of Local Policy of the Capital City of Warsaw City Hall and coordinates work on housing policy and the ‘Housing 2030’ programme. She was the winner of the 2013 Equality Glasses [Okulary Równości] award for ‘Social Justice’.


Paweł Kaczmarczyk is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw (Department of Demography) and since 2016, the director of the Centre for Migration Research, University of Warsaw. He is either a member or co-worker of groups working with issues of mobility and migration: the Committee for Migration Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Team of Advisors to the Speaker of the Senate of the Republic of Poland for the post-accession economic migration of Poles. From 2008 to 2011, he was a member of the Team of Strategic Advisers to the Prime Minister. He has cooperated with numerous national and international institutions, including: IZA (research fellow), TFMI, World Bank, OECD, Nordic Council, Maastricht Graduate School for Governance, Maastricht University, FISE. Between 2002-2003, he held a scholarship from the Foundation for Polish Science (scholarship programme for young scientists). In 2005, he received the Rector of University of Warsaw scholarship.

Rafał Kołodziej  is the founder and leader of Greenhat Innovation, where he co-creates innovations, solving tangible business and social issues. He specializes in strategy design, service design, and futures thinking. He facilitates and moderates, and trainer of design thinking and service design workshops, such as, ‘Simulated design process’ for Nickel Development, ‘Design Thinking as a way to build innovation’ for Ergo Hestia, ‘Eco-innovation as a market advantage for a business model’ for Sense Consulting, or the open/free? training, ‘Mapping the path of a customer’. In 2016, he led work on the Development Strategy of the City of Poznań and the city’s communication strategy, which were created through the process of design thinking, involving over 600 citizens in the process of co-creation. He is the co-author of the curriculum and content manager of the Service Design postgraduate course at SWPS University. He conducts and facilitates classes in service design, value proposition, business modelling, and value co-creation at SWPS University.

Adrian Krężlik  is an architect working with the application of modern technologies in design. He gained his professional experience at Zaha Hadid Architects in London, Rojkind Arquitectos, and FR-EE Fernando Romero in Mexico. He has participated in numerous festivals of design. Since 2014, he has been running Parametric Architecture, the educational and advisory platform. Since 2016, he has been part of the Berlin-based start-up, Parametric Support, which works on the application of optimization in architectural processes. He is a lecturer at the School of Form.



Dr Michał Kudłacz holds a PhD in economic sciences and works as a lecturer in the Department of Public Administration at the Cracow University of Economics. He specializes in regional and metropolitan development issues.


Dr Mikołaj Lewicki is a sociologist and works as an assistant professor at the Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw. For a number of years now, he has been researching and analysing economic life in Poland, including mortgage loans, the relations between the financial sector and housing, living with debt. Additionally, he is examining culture as the source of socio-economic development. He conducts research and participates in research projects that diagnose the functioning of local communities in areas such as cultural policy, participation in culture, and intersectoral cooperation. Under his supervision, students prepared a comprehensive report on urbanization of [the Warsaw district of] Białołęka, examining the relations between social and spatial diversity of the district and local activity. Together with Adrianna Drozdowska, he published an article about the competition between native [Varsovians] and non-native Warsaw residents. Lewicki was also responsible for the concept and organising of three-party workshops with the local community (whose participation he coordinated), investors, and City Hall officials during the ‘Warsaw Housing Estates’ project concerning the areas of Port Żerań and FSO Żerań.

Maximilian Mendel is a partner at REAS and manager of its Transaction Advisory Team focussed on the development of institutional market for renting flats and private student housing. Acting as the transaction advisor to the largest domestic investors and foreign investment funds, he was involved in the first transactions in this segment of the Polish market. Mendel graduated with a degree in Interdisciplinary Spatial Planning from the University of Dortmund and received his PhD from the Institute of Geography and Spatial Development at the Polish Academy of Sciences, where he defended a dissertation on the role of housing developers in the transformation of urban spaces in post-socialist Warsaw. He presented at numerous international conferences on real estate and is the author of multiple publications and studies in the field of real estate and spatial planning. Mendel started his professional career at Bank Przemysłowo-Handlowy in Warsaw and has been associated with REAS since 2006. He led a number of research and consulting projects, not only in Poland, but also on the housing markets of the entire region, including the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and the Ukraine. He is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and the Polish Association of Real Estate Market Advisers (PSDRN).

Natalia Paszkowska  is an architect, interior and exhibition space designer, and the co-founder of the WWAA design studio. She co-authored, among others, the Polish Expo Pavilion in Shanghai (2010); the Służew Cultural Centre (2013); the urban plan of Soho Factory, including the Rebel One (2013) and Kamion Cross residential buildings (2014); the Mercedes Station temporary pavilion (2013-2016); as well as the permanent exhibition at the Polish Stage Design Centre at the Silesian Museum and the Medieval Gallery at the National Museum in Warsaw. She has received numerous accolades, including the Warsaw City Hall Award, the Architectural Award of the ‘Polityka’ weekly and the PKN Orlen award for individual achievements in the field of architecture and design.

Dr Marek Piwowarski, a landscape architect, is the director of the Green Infrastructure Authority of the  Capital City of Warsaw City Hall and the former Warsaw Mayor’s representative in charge of management of the Vistula River Waterfront. He is also an assistant professor at the Department of Assessment and Evaluation of Natural Resources at the Warsaw School of Economics and lecturer in Landscape Architecture and Spatial Management.


Ewa P. Porębska is an architect and architecture critic. Since 1994, she has been the editor in chief of ‘Architektura-Murator’ monthly. Her work focuses on popularizing the best practices in world architecture. She has written numerous articles on architecture and lectured on Polish architecture at the ACA in Vienna, GSAPP Columbia University in New York and at the University of Hong Kong. She was a jury member of the European Prize for Urban Public Space 2016 and 2018; The European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture–Mies van der Rohe Award 2013 and is currently an expert for this award. She was a juror at the World Architecture Festival from 2008 to 2010 and sits on the board of Wrocław’s Museum of Architecture. Porębska is the co-author of numerous exhibitions, including ‘Poland. Icons of architecture’[Polska. Ikony architektury]  and ‘Poland. Architecture’ [Polska. Architecture] prepared by ‘Architektura-Murator’ in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an official promotion of Poland. In 2009, she received the Faculty of Architecture at Cracow University of Technology medal and the ‘Bene Merentibus’ medal from the Association of Polish Architects for her contributions to the development and promotion of Polish architecture. The Ambassador of the Netherlands awarded Poręnska a fragment of a hundred metre-long bench in Amsterdam designed by Claudia Linders –‘Space to Take Place’– for her contributions to Poland and the Netherlands’ cooperation in the field of architecture. For her outstanding contribution to the protection of spatial order and the development of architecture she was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta by the President of the Republic of Poland.

Dr Przemysław Sadura, a sociologist and columnist, he lectures at the Institute of Sociology and the Faculty of Economics of the University of Warsaw. For the past decade, he has been conducting social research for non-governmental organizations and the public administration. In his academic work, he favours active research and workshopping methods. He is the author of publications including the manual Consultations in the Local Community published by the IS University of Warsaw, and the co-author of Participation. A Krytyka Polityczna Guide. The co-founder of the Field of Dialogue [Pole Dialogu] foundation, a member of the Krytyka Polityczna team.

Dr Jakub Szczęsny is the first Polish architect whose design – the Keret House [Dom Kereta][in Warsaw] – was included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His work is located at the intersection of architecture, design, and art. He has worked on projects in Western Australia, the United States, Kazakhstan, Brazil, and others. He received his doctorate from the Faculty of Design of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, 2013. Szczęsny leads workshops and is a guest lecturer at the School of Form in Poznań, Bezalel in Jerusalem, the USP, the New School in New York, and the GSAPP. He was one of the founders of the Centrala Project Group in 2001. Since 2016, he has been running his own studio SZCZ in Warsaw. He is also the chief designer at SIMPLE HOUSE.

Dr Iwo Zmyślony is a philosopher and art theoretician, methodologist of design process, design thinking consultant, and the author of over a dozen academic publications and over a hundred essays, interviews, and reviews. He studied philosophy and art history at the University of Warsaw, the Catholic University of Lublin, the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, and the KU Leuven. He received his doctorate with a thesis on creativity in science and the non-discursive  dimensions of cognition and knowledge (tacit knowledge). Zmyślony graduated from the Academy of Social Innovators, Ashoka Innovators for the Public and a local government programme at the Academy of Humanities in Pułtusk. He received scholarships from the GFPS, DAAD, MNiSW, NCN and Młoda Polska programmes. He is a lecturer at the University of Warsaw, Viamoda School of Fashion, and the School of Form in Poznań. His texts were published in, among others, ‘Dwutygodnik’, ‘Circuit’ and ‘Kultura Liberalna’. He works with TVP Kultura’s ‘Tygodnik Kulturalny’.

Marta Żakowska  is a cultural animator and urban researcher. She is a co-founder and editor in chief of the ‘Cities Magazine’ and an expert in the field of sustainable public space development and cultural mobility. She initiated the ‘Cities Magazine’ ‘Older Cities’ research programme devoted to city policies concerning seniors. Żakowska  held the 2014 Minister of Culture and National Heritage scholarship and is a member of the Public Space Research Institute. Her texts devoted to sustainable urban spaces, urban exclusions and local communities, were published in publications including ‘Popular Culture’ [Kultura Popularna], ‘Architecture’ [Architektura], ‘Architektura & Biznes’ [Architecture  & Business], ‘Cities Magazine [Magazyn Miasta], ‘Cross-section’ [Przekrój?], Bi-weekly [Dwutygodnik] and ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’. She leads seminars for the Cities and Metropolies course at the IBPP and is a lecturer at the SWPS University’s School of Ideas.


Prof Anna Giza, a sociologist, is the deputy rector for development and financial policy at the University of Warsaw. Since the beginning of her academic career she has been associated with the Institute of Sociology where, between 2005-2008, she was the director for science and research. Between 2008 and 2012, she served as deputy dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Sociology. Her academic work is focussed on theoretical sociology. For a number of years, she has been working with non-governmental organisations. Between 1994 and 2005 she worked for leading Polish companies as an expert in the fields of market research, marketing, and communication.

Prof Krzysztof Domaradzki, an architect and urban planner, is an assistant professor in the Applied Urban Studies Studio at the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology, a member of the Association of Polish Urban Planners, and a competition judge at the Association of Polish Architects. He designed the now complete reconstruction of Nowy Świat and Krakowskie Przedmieście streets in Warsaw. He is also the co-author of a number of spatial development plans in Warsaw and projects for various housing estates in Warsaw suburbs.


Michał Olszewski is the Deputy Mayor of the Capital City of Warsaw, the former Director of the European Funds &Development Policy Department of the Capital City of Warsaw, director of the Investor Assistance Department, and chairman of the Committee on European Integration of the Association of Polish Cities. He also worked in the Ministry of Regional Development, Ministry of Economy and Labour, and in the Office of the Committee for European Integration. He graduated at the Faculty of Journalism and Political Science, University of Warsaw.


Marcin Wojdat  is the Secretary of the Capital City of Warsaw City Hall and the founder and former director of the Centre for Social Communication of the Capital City of Warsaw, which introduced innovative solutions related to the management of Warsaw’s local government using social participation and social research. He is a sociologist, a graduate of ISNS [Institute for Applied Social Research] at the University of Warsaw, social activist, and an employee of the Warsaw local government. For a number of years he has been involved with the NGO sector. Wojdat  coordinated the ‘City Contact Centre 19115’ project. He promotes open data and data transparency (api.um.warszawa.pl), as well as internal and external projects („Data in Warsaw”, „BIHAPI”) based on open data. He is also a member of the Programme Council of the VII Smart City Forum.

Paweł Lisicki is the deputy director of the Environmental Protection Department at the City of Warsaw City Hall and Warsaw’s Landscape Architect. He graduated from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (landscape architecture and the Kozminski University (management in public administration). A long-time designer of urban green areas and revaluations of historical garden designs; a co-author of physiographic and urban planning studies. For over two decades, he has been working for Warsaw’s local government. For two terms of office, he chaired the Landscape and Environment Committee of the Union of Polish Metropolises.


Justyna Biernacka, Mikołaj Lewicki, Maximilian Mendel, Łukasz Pancewicz, Natalia Paszkowska, Ewa P. Porębska, Katarzyna Sadowy, Zuzanna Skalska, Jakub Szczęsny, Iwo Zmyślony, Marta Żakowska


The 12 most significant spatial challenges for Warsaw

1. Stopping urban sprawl

The careless planning decisions from the turn of the 20th and 21st century resulted in building developments emerging in areas ill-adapted to urbanisation. Often, such areas do not yet have public road networks and are not served by efficient public transport routes. For their inhabitants, a car has become the only means of transport. This causes congestion and an increase in air pollution. The lack of schools, kindergartens, shops, and other basic services makes the new areas function primarily as bedroom communities [UK: commuter towns]. This also has a significant impact on the entire city’s finances — most of its investment resources must be invested in adapting such areas, at the expense of other areas of the city, to the needs of new residents.

Warsaw’s urban spread – Regaty housing development, photo from the archive of the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw

2. Reconstruction of inner-city urban fabric

As evidenced — to this day — by numerous discontinuities and gaps in Warsaw’s urban fabric, the city has suffered immensely at the hands of history. The presence of such vast spaces with no defined form and function intensifies the feeling of confusion and anonymity one experiences in Warsaw. As a result, the city is less tangible, its individual parts are growing apart, and its various well-designed spaces are not connected in any natural way. This can be seen, for example, in the relationship between the rapidly growing university district, Powiśle, the new riverside boulevards, the natural path along the right side of the Vistula River, and the increasingly appealing Praga district. These attractive areas should function in mutual synergy — we try to support this, by designing new cross-town connections, such as a bridge for bicycles and foot traffic.

The potential of Vistula River – city centre, photo from the archive of the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw

3. Return to a centre in the centre

The empty or poorly developed space surrounding the Palace of Culture requires radical action. In the face of reprivatisation and technical problems related to the underground, rail, and road infrastructure located below this area, it is necessary to implement any further investments in stages. While this vast area creates a discontinuity in the central part of Warsaw, it also provides a unique opportunity for introducing a diversity of functionalities in the very centre of the city, such as developed green spaces, urban squares, cultural and entertainment venues, shops and offices, and maybe even housing. The development of the frontage of Marszałkowska and Jerozolimskie streets, as well as other inner-city streets dominated by cars, would enable an improvement of Warsaw’s commercial streets. The commercial centre of Warsaw, with its department stores, cafés, and boutiques, could successfully attract customers who are now frequenting the huge shopping malls sucking the life out of the capital. The historic squares of Warsaw are also entirely dominated by transport. Pedestrians, as if they are intruders, hastily slip past the pavements lined by parked cars. It is no wonder that the safest way to move around the squares is by car. Meanwhile, Warsaw squares should be overflowing with urban life.

Teatralny Square,  photo from the archive of the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw

4. Strengthening the role of district centres

All the 18 Warsaw districts are self-contained areas with individual, well-defined character. However, not all district centres have been fully developed. While one can tell where they are located, the way they were developed is hardly fitting their rank within the city. An ideal district centre is not only a town hall surrounded by parking spaces, but an entire urban complex comprising a community centre or a cinema, smaller and larger shops, a church, a swimming pool or a marketplace located around a square, a street, or a green. District centres can vary in nature but their essential elements are attractive public spaces serving a variety of functions — administrative, cultural, entertainment, and service — meeting the diverse needs of the residents.

Unstructured district centres – Południowy Station,  photo from the archive of the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw

5. Bringing local neighbourhoods closer to its citizens

Every Warsaw resident should have, within a walking distance, a local centre where they can shop, meet their neighbours and spend their free time. For most people, such spaces are handier than the inner-city or district centres where people spend time only occasionally. A model local centre should be widely accessible to the public, comprise a public space with surrounding buildings, and serve a variety of social, economic, and intellectual interactions. Such a neighbourhood centre should serve all the local residents regardless of their age, needs, and interests, and should strengthen social ties by fostering meetings between residents, both similar to, and different from one another.

Hallera Square, photo from the archive of the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw

6. Building truly multifunctional districts

Many districts of Warsaw are monofuntional — there are exclusively residential, office, and industrial districts. Counteracting the emergence of such monocultures can benefit the entire city. At certain times of the day, such monofunctional districts become ‘dead zones’. They impose daily journeys burdening the transport system and as a result contribute to an increase in air pollution. To ensure the proper functioning of any area within the city, it is necessary to introduce other functions to accompany its primary purpose. Depending on each case, this could mean bringing in services that create new workplaces, social services in the form of local centres, or housing located in the vicinity of office spaces.

Wilanów Town, photo from the archive of the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw

7. Full integration of modes of transport

Warsaw does not take the full advantage of its dense public transport network. Most interchanges do not allow neither convenient connections nor quick interchanges between different modes of transport — from trains to metro, from busses to trams, and so on. For urban policy aimed at encouraging the use of public transport, this is an essential issue. The speed, comfort, and certainty of such transfers are, for many passengers, a prerequisite to give up their own car. Interchanges with the greatest commuter flows should be designed as multifunctional centres, for the safe and efficient handling of passengers and the creation of new workplaces.

Disorganised transport interchanges – Warsaw’s Praga district,  photo from the archive of the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw

8. Return of industry to the city

Changes in production technology and the growing importance of the research and development sector using lighter technologies, provide an opportunity for diversification of labour markets in large cities. The characteristics of modern industry allow bringing workplaces closer to residential areas. Warsaw’s post-industrial areas, already equipped with the core urban infrastructure, allow for the creation of new multifunctional areas that could fulfil production or service purposes, while including housing or parks.

Żerań FSO [the site of the former Passenger Automobile Factory],  photo from the archive of the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw

9. Protecting the hydrographical system

In the face of climate change, water circulation in a large city is a major challenge. Warsaw’s hydrographical system includes, besides the Vistula River and its tributaries, an extensive network of drainage ditches, canals, and water reservoirs. The pressure from investors is causing the obliteration of a system that was created to ensure a stable water supply to agriculture at different times of the year. With the growing frequency of weather anomalies, Warsaw will increasingly require the means to manage or drain off large amounts of water. The existing hydrographical system also provides an opportunity to maintain the environmental balance in the city — the watercourses and reservoirs are the natural migration corridors that enhance biodiversity.

The disappearance of Warsaw’s hydrographic system – Jelonki neigbourhood,  photo from the archive of the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw

10. Protecting the architectural value of modernist housing estates

The main feature of Warsaw’s modernist housing estates is that their buildings are surrounded by greenery. Such ‘free’ green spaces within and around these estates are the target of real estate investors willing to build on the land. Modernist housing estates are complete entities and any — if any at all — interference in their shape should be the result of a thorough urbanist analysis.

Ursynów District – Romera Street,  photo from the archive of the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw

11. Adjusting city entrances

The main entryways to Warsaw are aesthetically degraded. They are dominated by an informational chaos manifested in a cacophony of advertisements and architectural and urban confusion: a conglomerate of small service businesses and relic housing developments. They are devoid of any urban character and are dominated by transit traffic and major air pollution. In the eyes of a visitor, the entrances to the city leave a negative first impression of Warsaw that proves difficult to erase.

Warsaw’s entryways – Puławska Street,  photo from the archive of the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw

12. Creating genuine urban fabric in former rural areas

The issue of land development in agricultural and post-agricultural areas is bound up with the problem of urban sprawl. The rational use of such areas for the purposes of urbanisation would require a consolidation and re-division of narrow, long parcels. Today, spontaneous land development in areas aspiring to become part of Warsaw’s urban fabric has resulted in the creation of structures that duplicate and perpetuate former agricultural divisions. Such mode of investment, unfortunately allowed by the Polish law, benefits neither the investors nor the city. The former, investing on small and narrow plots, use the land inefficiently, further dividing it. In effect, isolated areas without any neighbourhood or public space, where the only seemingly effective forms of surveillance are barriers and cameras, are created.

Development in a former rural area – Wawer LAS development,  photo from the archive of the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw

Text: Marlena Happach, Bartosz Rozbiewski, Piotr Sawicki / Architecture and Spatial Planning Department, Warsaw City Hall

Organiser: The Architecture and Spatial Planning Department

Marlena Happach (Director of the Architecture and Spatial Planning Department), Piotr Sawicki (Deputy director of the Architecture and Spatial Planning Department), Bartosz Rozbiewski (Head of Spatial Policy Department), Monika Komorowska (Head of Dialogue in Planning Department), Zuzanna Hyrcza, Dariusz Bartoszewicz i Wojciech Kacperski


ul. Marszałkowska 77/79
00-683 Warszawa, Poland

+48 22 44 323 00, 22 44 323 01
fax: +48 22 44 323 02, 22 44 324 50


Fundacja Nowej Kultury Bęc Zmiana

Piotr Chuchla (graphic design), Joanna Figiel (translations), Aleksandra Kędziorek (curatorial collaboration), Damian Makowski (graphic design), Kuba Snopek (infographics), Agnieszka Sural (coordination), Bogna Świątkowska (curator), Julia Żabowska (research)


ul. Mokotowska 65/7
00-533 Warszawa, Poland

+48 22 827 6462