Transforming post-socialist cities into more competitive and attractive urban spaces

The “ReNewTown” project has invested in four pilot urban regeneration projects designed to enhance cross-regional economic performance, promote social cohesion and cultural activity, and boost the modernisation of the urban landscape. The initiative provides central and eastern European cities that were affected by socialist methods of planning with social and environmental models of best practices.

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Relandscaping in Warsaw. Relandscaping in Warsaw.

" Changes in the towns and districts involved in ReNewTown over the past four years reinforce my belief that they can be attractive places to live, work and rest. Moreover, ReNewTown brought practitioners and researchers closer through the process of working together on issues related to the revitalisation and improvement of life of local communities. "

Magdalena Wątorska-Dec, ReNewTown Project Coordinator

ReNewTown project partners carried out research among inhabitants, experts and entrepreneurs in ten cities across five countries in an attempt to assess the success and failure factors of urban districts. One example was the ArtZONA venue in Nowa Huta, near Kraków, which stages cultural and social events and various other activities. A neglected playground between blocks of flats in Velenje was redeveloped to create an inspiring space for all generations, with local volunteers giving 1567 hours of their time to do most of the physical work.

A centre for small and medium-sized enterprises was set up in a large Prague panel-housing development to support local entrepreneurship in an area with high unemployment. Old socialist architecture in Hnúšťa, Slovakia was transformed into a Museum of Socialist Curiosities, which has received around 600 artefacts in donations and has become a tourist attraction, helping to preserve knowledge of Hnúšťa’s socialist period for future generations.

Models of good practices

Along with the lessons learned from those pilot initiatives, ReNewTown has compiled an online database of the experience and knowledge gained from similar projects over the past 20 years. The database includes some 148 models of good practices, as well as expert contacts, and is publically accessible to all.

The main findings from the project alongside solutions for struggling urban areas to combat poverty and social disparities are also set out in the project publications, which include a handbook of models, a manual for urban revitalisation and a strategy for post-socialist cities. In addition, an estimated five new jobs have been created thanks to ReNewTown, following its implementation.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “ReNewTown” is EUR 1 474 181.60, of which the European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 1 237 122.36 from the Operational Programme “Central Europe” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date