Geographia Polonica

Geographia Polonica has been published since 1964; in the years 1964–1998 as a serial publication. Since 1999 – as a journal with two issues per year (Spring and Autumn), and since 2012 there are four issues per year (March, July, October, December). Contributions to the journal on both human and physical geography topics as well as related fields (e.g. urban and regional planning, ecology) should be submitted to the Editor. Papers dealing with Central and Eastern Europe are particularly welcomed.

News

CALL FOR PAPERS: Tourism Transitions, Changes and Creation of New Spaces and Places in Europe

GUEST EDITORS: Jarkko SAARINEN and Marek WIĘCKOWSKI

Authors interested in contributing to the issue should submit a proposal
by May 18th, 2018.

The Special issue of GEOGRAPHIA POLONICA focuses on the ongoing changes and transformations of tourism spaces and places in Europe and the impact of socio-political and economic transitions on tourism. The past two or three decades have been characterized by complex and multi-scalar changes and processes, which have brought about a restructuring and revisioning of spaces and places where tourism activities do now and will take place in the future. In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), especially, the political and socio-economic changes that crystallized in 1990s have deeply transformed the nature, functioning and development of tourism places and spaces. These processes of change have been partially guided by the European Union and its various funding sources targeting regional and local development in rural, urban and cross-border contexts. At the same time we have observed a transformation from a planning economy to the free market economy which has had an important implications for tourism development and its spatial structure in the CEE.

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CALL FOR PAPERS: Ruining/demolishing and regeneration of urban space

      The overview of literature on spatial, social and cultural transformations in cities allowed us to  put forward the following hypothesis: Demolition/ruining process of cities is a regular part of their history, consists in irrevocable damage to spatial, functional and above all social structure irrespective of time, place and reasons behind it. Under specific circumstances such actions may become rational elements of urban transformations, which support revitalization, urban regeneration and sustainable development. Whether ruining/demolishing is destructive or constructive to a city depends on physical, geographical, economic, geopolitical, ideological and cultural context.  
     Ruining/demolition as a tool of urban regeneration allows to introduce radical improvement of the degraded areas and to restore of their social value, ie to improve the quality of spatial organization, to ensure a proper structure of functions, to improve living conditions, and to stabilize positive relationships among different user groups.

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Current Issue

Geographia Polonica (2019) vol. 92, iss. 1

Ruining/demolishing and regeneration in urban space

Articles

Ruining, demolition and regeneration in urban space: Sketching the research problem

Sylwia Kaczmarek

Geographia Polonica (2019) vol. 92, iss. 1, pp. 5-16 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0133

Further information

Abstract:

The paper is intended to examine fundamental research problems connected with two processes that currentlyfeature in urban space: demolition and regeneration as well as relationships between them seen from theperspective of diverse conceptual and theoretical approaches debated in geographic urban studies. Regeneration understood as a sequence of planned actions is about the redevelopment of degraded urban areas. Its idea is to introduce spatial, economic, social, and cultural changes in these areas to restore their social attributes, such as: improved standard of living, sustainable positive relations among various user groups,improved comfort in using the areas, and elimination of the existing inequalities. Demolition of a city means destruction of its infrastructure leading to morphological, functional, social, and cultural transformations. Knowledge about the reasons, course and effects of demolition helps us decide what types of demolition bestfit given circumstances and subsequently propose effective remedy measures. By identifying relationships between demolition and regeneration in contemporary cities we can learn more about both processes and,consequently, more efficiently modernise organisation of space and its arrangement to meet the needs andrequirements of present and future users. In conclusion we propose research questions which delineate thedirection of further interdisciplinary studies in this field.

Keywords: city, urban studies, demolition, urban regeneration, organisation of space, living conditions, quality of life

Sylwia Kaczmarek [sylwia.kaczmarek@geo.uni.lodz.pl], Urban Regeneration Laboratory Institute of Urban Geography and Tourism Studies Faculty of Geographical Sciences University of Łódź, Kopcińskiego 31, 90-142 Łódź: Poland

Seeking the causes of urban ruination: An empirical research in four Portuguese cities

Eduardo Brito-Henriques, David Cruz

Geographia Polonica (2019) vol. 92, iss. 1, pp. 17-35 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0134

Further information

Abstract:

Urban ruination is an understudied feature in the life of cities. This article discusses its causes. Based on the study of four shrinking Portuguese cities (Lisbon, Barreiro, Guimarães and Vizela), and using Multiple Linear Regression Analysis as the statistical method, the structure of relationships among ruins, economic change,demographic change, social geography and the characteristics of buildings are discussed. Although the study concludes that ruination is a highly contingent phenomenon, the results show that of all the structural factors,demographic ageing and the obsolescence of buildings (poor housing conditions) are the key causes of ruination in the four cities under study. Links between ruination and socio-spatial processes have also been identified.

Keywords: ruins, ruination, urban abandonment, vacant properties, shrinking cities, Portugal

Eduardo Brito-Henriques [eduardo@campus.ul.pt], Universidade de Lisboa Centre for Geographical Studies Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning IGOT, Rua Branca Edmée Marques, 1600-276 Lisbon: Portugal
David Cruz [fabio.d.cruz@campus.ul.pt], Universidade de Lisboa Centre for Geographical Studies Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning IGOT, Rua Branca Edmée Marques, 1600-276 Lisbon: Portugal

The last of the Soviets’ Home: Urban demolition in Moscow

Guénola Inizan, Lydia Coudroy de Lille

Geographia Polonica (2019) vol. 92, iss. 1, pp. 37-56 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0135

Further information

Abstract:

This paper is dedicated to a program of the demolition of thousands of housing estates built during the Khrushchev period in the Federation of Russia. Although this process has been undertaken since the beginning of the twenty-first century, it has seen a significant growth in 2017 within the program called Renovation. The paper begins with the historical and geographical context that  led to the birth of this layer of the Soviet architecture and presents Renovation as it has been completed in 2018 in Moscow, as well as the reaction of the inhabitants of these blocks.

Keywords: Russia, Moscow, demolition, Khrushchevki, Renovation, urban policy

Guénola Inizan [guenola.inizan@univ-lyon2.fr], Univ Lyon, Université Lumière Lyon 2, CNRS UMR 5600 EVS UFR Temps et territoire 5, avenue Pierre Mendès-France,F-69676 Bron cedex: France
Lydia Coudroy de Lille [lydia.coudroydelille@univ-lyon2.fr], Univ Lyon, Université Lumière Lyon 2, CNRS UMR 5600 EVS UFR Temps et territoire 5, avenue Pierre Mendès-France,F-69676 Bron cedex: France

Resuscitating the African giant: Urban regeneration and inner city redevelopment initiatives along the ‘Corridors of Freedom’ in downtown Johannesburg

Nico Kotze, Leani De Vries

Geographia Polonica (2019) vol. 92, iss. 1, pp. 57-70 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0136

Further information

Abstract:

After more than two decades of attempting to redevelop the inner city of Johannesburg, it is still perceived by scholars, the popular media and the general public as a crime-ridden area of decay. This paper looks at a public transport system, as well as the redevelopment of parks and the provision of housing in the innercity. The Rea Vaya BRT serves as the ’backbone’ for the redevelopment strategy of the City of Johannesburg’s’ Corridors of Freedom’ which aims to mitigate inequality in the city. This research analyses the success and shortcomings of the BRT system, as well as the redevelopment of inner city parks and the provision of housing for the poor in the inner city and along these development axes. Although large amounts of money have been allocated to the redevelopment of the inner city parks and to tracts of land along these so-called Corridors of Freedom, these parks are still proving to be user-unfriendly owing to a lack of maintenance. Although the redevelopment projects appear to be worthy attempts to improve the inner city of Johannesburg these have as yet not proved themselves to be very effective.

Keywords: Johannesburg, urban regeneration, redevelopment, parks, housing, transport

Nico Kotze [kotzenj@unisa.ac.za], Department of Geography University of South Africa Florida Campus, Unisa, Private Bag X90, Florida, 1710: South Africa
Leani De Vries [dvriel@unisa.ac.za], Department of Geography University of South Africa Florida Campus, Unisa, Private Bag X90, Florida, 1710: South Africa

Grubbing out the Führerbunker: Ruination, demolition and Berlin’s difficult subterranean heritage

Luke Bennett

Geographia Polonica (2019) vol. 92, iss. 1, pp. 71-82 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0137

Further information

Abstract:

This article presents a case study examining the slow-death of the Berlin Führerbunker since 1945. Its seventy year longitudinal perspective shows how processes of ruination, demolition and urban renewal in central Berlin have been affected by materially and politically awkward relict Nazi subterranean structures. Despite now being a buried pile of rubble, the Führerbunker’s continued resonance is shown to be the product of a heterogeneous range of influences, spanning wartime concrete bunkers’ formidable material resistance, their affective affordances and evolving cultural attitudes towards ruins, demolition, memory, memorialisation, tourism and real estate in the German capital.

Keywords: ruin, demolition, bunkers, subterranean, Berlin, nazism, heritage, materiality

Luke Bennett [l.e.bennett@shu.ac.uk], Department of the Natural & Built Environment Sheffield Hallam University Norfolk 306, Howard St, Sheffield, S1 1WB: United Kingdom

The Vardar River as a border of semiosphere – Paradox of Skopje regeneration

Armina Kapusta

Geographia Polonica (2019) vol. 92, iss. 1, pp. 83-102 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0138

Further information

Abstract:

As suggested by its etymology, regeneration usually carries positive connotations while its negative aspects tend to be belittled. However, any renewal results in major morphological, physiognomic, functional or social changes, which imply changes in the meanings encoded in space. These transformations are not always welcome and they may lead to public discussions and conflicts. Skopje 2014 is a project within which such controversial transformations have been taking place. The area surrounding the Vardar River and its banks plays a major role here. On the river banks monumental buildings were erected, bridges over the river were modernised and new ones, decorated with monuments, were built for pedestrians. Bridges can be considered a valuable component of any urban infrastructure as they link different parts of a settlement unit (in the case of Skopje – left (northern) bank and the right (southern) bank; Albanian and Macedonian), improve transport, facilitate trade and cultural exchange. In this context, referring to Lotman’s semiosphere theory, they may become borders of semiotic space, which acts as a filter that facilitates the penetration of codes and cultural texts. Yet, in multicultural Skopje meanings attached to bridges seem to lead to social inequalities as they glorify what is Macedonian and degrade the Albanian element. To validate this assumption we carried out semiotic analysis of bridges over the Vardar River which were renewed or built within the Skopje 2014 project to identify their role in shaping the semiosphere of the Macedonian capital.

Keywords: Skopje 2014 project, bridges over the Vardar River, semiosphere, urban semiotics, ruining and demolishing, multicultural city

Armina Kapusta [armina.kapusta@geo.uni.lodz.pl], Urban Regeneration Laboratory Institute of Urban Geography and Tourism Studies Faculty of Geographical Sciences University of Łódź Kopcińskiego 31, 90-142 Łódź: Poland

Renovation and monumentality in social housing: Analysis of demolitions of towers and slabs from the case study of the Lyon urban area in France

Laëtitia Mongeard, Vincent Veschambre

Geographia Polonica (2019) vol. 92, iss. 1, pp. 103-119 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0139

Further information

Abstract:

Large buildings (towers, large slabs, etc.) dating from 1965 to 1974 are one of the five main targets of theAgence Nationale de la Rénovation Urbaine (French National Agency for Urban Renewal), which has used demolition as a privileged tool of intervention in large social housing complexes (grands ensembles) and degraded condominiums since the early 2000s. Using a corpus of grands ensembles in the urban area of Lyon of interest to the national programme of urban renewal, we sought to verify the intentions displayed at the national level; this urban area has indeed been at the forefront of concerns regarding ’city policy’ since the early1980s and can be considered emblematic of national policies in this area. We simultaneously examined the methods used to demolish these towers and bars, from explosive demolition to mechanical means. Given their monumentality, these buildings are most restrictive at the technical level, and the means by which the demolition occurs are viewed with the greatest attention, as decision-makers are most vigilant regarding their effects on the inhabitants and on public opinion. The demolition of these high-rise buildings can be analysed in light of technical and normative evolutions (security, recycling) as well as their political and ideological meanings.

Keywords: urban renewal, social housing, Lyon, monumentality, demolition, towers and slabs

Laëtitia Mongeard [laetitia.mongeard@ens-lyon.fr], UMR 5600 Environnement Ville Société 18 rue Chevreul, 69007 Lyon: France
Vincent Veschambre [vincent.veschambre@mairie-villeurbanne.fr], UMR 5600 Environnement Ville Société 18 rue Chevreul, 69007 Lyon: France

Regeneration and demolition vis-á-vis disintegration of urban space: The case of el Cabanyal-Canyamelar in Valencia

Jarosław Kazimierczak, Karolina Wrona

Geographia Polonica (2019) vol. 92, iss. 1, pp. 121-139 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0140

Further information

Abstract:

Disintegration of urban space is the opposite of its organisation; regeneration should be discussed in this context as it restores or introduces morphological attributes that meet the needs of local communities. The paper identifies the impact of regeneration upon urban space (re)integration and the role of planned demolitionas a regeneration tool on the example of el Cabanyal-Canyamelar district in Valencia, Spain. Studies have demonstrated that demolition can be considered a rational component of regeneration and that not only morphologicalattributes of the transformed area are important for urban space regeneration but also intentions and ways of using demolition as a regeneration tool.

Keywords: disintegration of urban space, dysfunctionality, regeneration, demolition, el Cabanyal-Canyamelar, Valencia

Jarosław Kazimierczak [jaroslaw.kazimierczak@geo.uni.lodz.pl], Urban Regeneration Laboratory Institute of Urban Geography and Tourism Studies Faculty of Geographical Sciences University of Łódź Kopcińskiego 31, 90-142 Łódź: Poland
Karolina Wrona, Valenthia Strategy SL Architecture Studio in Valencia C / Moratin 15 1 1 46002, Valencia: Spain

Demolition in regeneration megaprojects: The case of Wien Hauptbahnhof

Piotr Kosmowski

Geographia Polonica (2019) vol. 92, iss. 1, pp. 141-156 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0141

Further information

Abstract:

Regeneration of centrally located city areas has been increasingly more often undertaken as a regeneration megaproject exercise. In European cities there are vast post-railway areas, which, if transformed, can produce morphological and functional changes. Against this background, investigating demolition as part of transformation of the existing spatial and functional structures is an interesting option. Transformations proposed for the downtown area of Vienna previously occupied by the Wien Südbahnhof railway station include the reconstruction of 109 ha formerly used exclusively by railway sector operators. The research problem boils down to the question: what was the course of demolition of the area covered by modernisation works carried out as a megaproject and how has it transformed space organisation on the spot? The paper analyses thesequence of urban renewal initiated in Vienna in the area adjacent to the new Wien Hauptbahnhof railway station and identifies the outcomes of the process. Regeneration project triggered the decision to completely demolish all elements of the existing railway infrastructure and to reconstruct it anew on a much smallerarea. Recuperated post-railway land was made available to housing developers, as well as to service facilitiesand leisure projects, which expand central area of the city.

Keywords: megaproject, demolition, regeneration, railway areas, Wien Hauptbahnhof, Wien Südbahnhof

Piotr Kosmowski [piotr.kosmowski@geo.uni.lodz.pl], Institute of Urban Geography and Tourism Studies Faculty of Geographical Sciences University of Łódź Kopcińskiego 31, 90-142 Łódź: Poland