“Katowice effect”? Regeneration of the site of the former Katowice coal mine through prestige cultural projects

Agnieszka Sobala-Gwosdz 1  and Krzysztof Gwosdz 2
  • 1 The Bronisław Markiewicz State Higher School of Technology and Economics, , Jarosław
  • 2 Jagiellonian University, , Kraków

Abstract

This paper aims to give an in–depth account of the regeneration of the site of the former Katowice coalmine, by far the largest regeneration venture financed by the public sector on a post-industrial site in Poland, and to capture the primary outcomes and effects of this prestige project. Contrary to a simplified interpretation of a ‘Polish Bilbao effect’, the authors argue that the Culture Zone follows a unique development model that was driven by a coincidence of such factors as the situation of a major (post-) industrial conurbation seeking a new identity, the availability of external funding, chance events (with the origins of some of them dating back to WW2), and pre-existing spatial factors. The study area has been diagnosed to include all the positive effects of flagship projects, as well as most of the weaknesses associated with such a type of regeneration. All in all, it is a successful undertaking given the external conditions under which it has been implemented.

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