Falowiec: landscape of communism in Gdansk, Poland.

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I have recently been walking around “Falowiec” (form the Polish word fala, wave; plural: falowce) in Gdansk, the longest building in Europe. It is a block of flats characterised by its length and wavy shape. This type of building was built in Poland in the late 1960s and 1970s in the Polish city of Gdańsk, where there are eight buildings of this type. Some buildings of this kind are also present in Italy.

The best-known falowiec in Gdańsk, located at the Obrońców Wybrzeża street, has:

11 stories (10 plus the ground floor)
nearly 6,000 occupants
4 segments (4 staircases in each segment of 110 apartments).
a length of around 850 m (2788 ft)

Soviet mass housing is a contradictory but unique phenomenon. It is usually blamed for creating the most monotonous built environment in the history of mankind, thus constituting a symbol of individual suppression and dejection. The construction programme launched in the post-Stalinist era was the largest undertaken in modern architectural history worldwide. At the same time, Soviet mass housing fulfilled a colossal social role, providing tens of millions of families with their own apartments. It shaped the culture and everyday life of nearly all Soviet citizens. Yet, due to the very scale of construction, it managed to evolve into a complex world denoting an abundance of myths and secrets, achievements and failures. Soviet mass housing is indisputably intriguing, but nevertheless it is still neglected as a theme of research. Therefore, the time is ripe for a critical appraisal of this ambitious project. The authors aim to identify the most significant mass housing series designed and engineered from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok.

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Gentrification of a postsocialist old centre in Gdansk, Poland

Yesterday, walking from industrial area in the surrounding of Gdansk until the historic old center. It was worth photographing the difference in terms of housing in hardly half a kilometer, as well as the contrast between old industrial sites by the river and the new real state that is being raised. The river side is experiencing a growing gentrification process. The ruins of second war, a kind of open air museum of how WWII destroyed the city are becoming debris while the city invest in a huge and modern museum of WWII. Komfort investment firm is building a luxury and privilege view condominium near the river.

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Postsocialism and postindustrialism: how outsourcing and offshoring boom is transforming Gdansk city, Poland

Gdansk city is emerging as the next outsourcing city. As many other mid-size cities in the country in the last decade, as well as the capital Warsaw did since 1990, the city is harbouring a increasing number of multinational corporations that aim to outsoource certain business process. In a preious post I echo a very interesting article on the boom experience in this city due to the arrival of BPO to the city (Business Process Outsourcing). They represent nowadays the 30% of employment. As suggested by the major in that article, the “boom” is “rebranding the city”. This photos, taken at the so called “Oliwa Gate, the district where most of the BPO are being located, try to reflect visually this phenomenon.

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“The European City in Transformation: Urban politics and urban planning in a postsocialist city”

Abstract

This book analyses postsocialist urban policy. The focus lies on the question of how certain it is that postsocialist Eastern European Cities are approaching the Model of the classic “European City“. The city of Warsaw was chosen as case study. Based on the neo-weberian approach developed by Le Galès, the author defines the characteristics of the European City in the field of urban planning and studies them in relation to the contemporary debate on Governance. The public institutions along with the formal urban policy goals in Warsaw show convergence to the Model of the European City. However in practice, informal processes and negotiations initiated by economically strong parties dominate the urban development in Warsaw. This duality of urban development stands against the Model of the European City. The situation in Warsaw is compared with urban planning processes in Budapest, Prague, Wroclaw, Poznan and Gdansk. As a result, the specifics of postsocialist urban policy and the Varsovian urban development are shown. This demonstrates that there is no linear progression from the postsocialist city to- wards the European Model. Instead, a particular Eastern European type of urban development has evolved.
Koch, F. (2010). Die europäische Stadt in Transformation. Springer Fachmedien.