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JLL and Nowa Warszawa present a map of the most exciting and changing Warsaw micro-locations. The neighbourhood of Plac Grzybowski, the Vistula Boulevards, and the Port of Praga with the area around the National Stadium are winners of an Internet vote.
This year the international advisory company JLL celebrates the 20th anniversary of its presence in Poland. As part of this celebration, JLL, in collaboration with a popular Internet portal Nowa Warszawa1 (New Warsaw), produced the first ranking of Warsaw's most important micro-locations, including those which have undergone the most profound changes in recent years; those which are currently changing, and those with the greatest potential. The most crucial areas were chosen in online voting. The research is gathered in the "Acupuncture of Warsaw" summary.
Tomasz Trzósło, Managing Director, JLL Poland, commented "We launched our business in Poland by opening an office in Warsaw in 1994 and for 20 years we have been fascinated with the city's spectacular transformations in various areas: politics, economy, society and culture. We have witnessed huge investments and community initiatives that have had a considerable impact on the city. We have noted that after the investment boom, e.g., in road, office and retail infrastructure, residents are paying increasing attention to the quality of the surrounding space, the places they occupy every day and their neighbourhood. This is a natural course of urban development – from spectacular investments to the attention paid to immediate surroundings and quality of public space. All these elements contribute to the quality of life in the city and to its image in the eyes of residents, tourists and business."
Like any city, Warsaw is a mosaic of streets, intersections, squares, parks and housing estates. Changes limited to a particular street, block or square alone are not likely to affect the overall perception of the city. But sometimes a single stimulus starts an avalanche of changes reviving a particular part of city space which then starts to have a positive knock-on effect on the neighbouring areas. This stimulus can be either a municipal investment (e.g. the retrofitting of a street, the construction of a metro station, the opening of a museum), private investment (e.g. the opening of a popular restaurant, the construction of an office building), or community initiative (e.g. a recurring street festival). Such events can raise awareness of a particular area and attract other projects, which will contribute to an improvement in the quality of a given area and to make it more alluring and popular among residents, tourists or investors.
Anna Bartoszewicz-Wnuk, Head of Research and Consultancy, JLL, explained: "We wanted to look at Warsaw from a different perspective. We assumed that cities change not only at the level of crucial political decisions or flagship investments, but also at the level closest to their residents, the neighbourhood level. We identified the places which in recent years have undergone the most profound changes, those which are currently changing, and those with the greatest development potential. We concentrated on the former Centrum borough, i.e. the districts of Śródmieście, Żoliborz, Praga Północ, Praga Południe, Mokotów, Ochota and Wola. Our analysis excluded the most obvious investment locations, or locations that are already well-developed, such as Nowy Świat St, Krakowskie Przedmieście St, the Old Town or the Parade Square. We did not suggest districts or larger urban areas, but considerably smaller locations: blocks, streets or squares which in the minds of Warsaw residents and visitors, are perceived as separately defined micro-locations."
In the category of the most profound recent changes JLL and Nowa Warszawa took into consideration the areas which, due to an existing investment, have undergone positive transformations and have a positive influence on neighbouring locations. The winner is Plac Grzybowski Square and its neighbourhood (27% votes), followed by Powiśle (24%) and Francuska St in Saska Kępa (13%). The remaining nominees were North Muranów, the Saviour Square (Plac Zbawiciela), South Powiśle, Mokotowska St., Poznańska St, Burakowska St and the right bank of the Vistula river.
The category of "the most important future change" includes the micro-locations where the transformation process has already begun, but which have not yet reached the critical mass necessary for influencing neighbouring areas. The winner was the Vistula Boulevards (40%), far ahead of Świętokrzyska St. (19%) and Daszyński Roundabout (16%). Other micro-locations in this category were Mińska St area, Plac Wilsona Square area, Chłodna St area, Skwer Wolnego Słowa Square, Odolany/Czyste, intersection of Żelazna and Sienna St. and Plac Szembeka Square.
The third category embraced micro-locations with the greatest potential for future change. This included places which have not yet been transformed, but which, due to an attractive location or planned investments (e.g. in infrastructure), may in the future positively influence the neighbouring areas and become an important locations in Warsaw's cityscape. The winner is the Port of Praga with the surroundings of the National Stadium (23%), followed by Koszyki Market Hall (21%), and Grzybowska St (area between Żelazna St and Towarowa St) – 14%. The nominees also included: Koneser, Targowa St., Norblin, Plac Narutowicza Square, Plac Małachowskiego Square, Nowa Praga neighbourhood or The Saski and Brühl Palaces.
Tomasz Reich, Editor-in-Chief of Nowawarszawa.pl, commented: "The results of our survey have shown that Warsaw residents are placing increasing importance to the quality of public space. This is indicated by the high ranking of the Vistula Boulevards, and Plac Grzybowski Square with Próżna Street. Warsaw residents travel around the world and they want to live, just like the residents of Barcelona or Rome, in a nice, friendly space. I believe that in the next few years, following the construction of the second metro line and the development of new business district in Wola, we will witness the revival of many neglected locations in Śródmieście (City Centre district), as it is already happening in the Powiśle area. These local investments initiate the development of the neighbourhood in which they are situated. The driving force of these transformations are both the changes in the quality of public space, such as in Plac Grzybowski Square or Francuska St, and those triggered by huge public and private investments, exemplified by Świętokrzyska St and Daszyński Roundabout.
Jan Jakub Zombirt, Senior Research Analyst, JLL, summed up: "In order to create a city which makes residents feel good and which is attractive for tourists and business, you need to engage in a range of activities in various locations. Certainly, huge investments in infrastructure consume most of the city's budget, but smaller, local investments cannot be ignored. Although they are implemented at low cost, they allow a neglected area of the city to be restored for residents. You also need to cooperate with private investors and support those whose activities bring a new quality to the city space. It is a win-win situation, because changing the way the location is perceived is beneficial for both investors and residents. The city is the sum of all micro-locations. The more micro-locations that are perceived as friendly, the better the perception of the city as a whole."
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