This year our theoretical research and practical interventions in the context of a long-term project "City’s acupuncture" focused on Zawalna St. district – considering it as a litmus paper in approach towards the issue of water in the city. As an object of analysis, workshops, public consultations and finally architectural competitions, it combines all the challenges faced by the city located on water, especially Wrocław. The levees, the bridge connecting the northern part of the city with its center, the public transport stop and the remains of buildings create a challenge for development of the place located at the crossroads of a large housing estate Różanka, which should support functions of both: public and more personal character addressed by local residents. This "no-one’s" land have its own identity and become a multi-purpose venue for the city and its users. Activities related to the analysis of the potential of the surroundings of Zawalna St. took place in late May, and the results will be useful during the seminar, as well as during a public debate which we would like to invite for.
Wrocław’s environment related to water is very diversified. It’s not Odra playing the major role, but also Bystrzyca, Ślęza, Widawa, Dobra, Zielona and 20 minor highly “specialized” watercourses. Each of these plays a different part and should be involved in the landscape development - a corridor of water and related attractions that enrich the district and the entire city. Is the capital of Lower Silesia aware and does it have plans to differentiate the characters of these water corridors? This is an important question in the process of developing guidelines for an updated study of the conditions and directions of Wrocław’s plan.
Among many effective solutions to problems resulting from the water-city tie some should be considered as exemplary, especially historic island such as: Piasek, Młyńska or Bielarska. Others, such as Kępa Mieszczańska looked and still looks promising. For now, the dominant principle is that the further we go ... could it be better? Perhaps, maybe because the closer ones are already finished and developed, represent a high standard, and the ones that are being built - we will evaluate in a few years. Although, enthusiasm can hardly be seen! Wrocław’s water junction has a tremendous potential. It only requires a comprehensive approach and a very strong coordination. The Miejski Port, Popowice, shipyard, barge winter station at Osobowice I and II – should be considered commercial heritage of Odra as a navigable river, surrounded mostly by zones supporting the river’s traffic. In those days nobody would think of it as a "beautiful" river. Neither in London nor in Amsterdam or Hamburg, where the word “Hafencity” would mean something completely different. How to transform water reservoirs and the neighboring zones? How to adjust its functionality and how to shape the landscape? The landscape by the water and on the water. Because these are, how different, yet sides of the same coin. Wrocław’s water system consists also on sluices: Bartoszowice, Miejska, Mieszczańska, Opatowice, Sand, Rędzin, Różanka, Szczytniki and Zacisze, as well as weirs: Psie Pole and Szczytniki that support canals: the downtown canal, the navigation canal and the flood canal, not counting the proper Odra and its different branches. How to exploit and expose these devices – so vital to the water system and the history of Wrocław?
The river, as a force of nature, must be separated from developed land. Levees bring safety, cutting the river from the city. So how do we develop the levees’ space on both sides? How to manage flood risk areas ? We know, as it was in previous years - two floods pointed out a “lack of memory” and reflection while developing local plans.Bridges are the most essential element of transport infrastructure. The number of bridges and their arrangement determine the quality of life in the city, enabling to connect quickly and efficiently. Although they connect both sides of the river, at the same time they cut walking routes creating a barrier for moving along the levees. Once, it wasn’t a problem because the traffic was moderate crossing the road was possible anywhere. Today, however, when security requirements dictate crossing the road at pedestrian crossings, distance from bridges to crossings decreases the comfort of embankment users.