TRIPS

IMPORTANT PRACTICAL INFORMATION: 

  1. The starting point for ALL THE TRIPS is Plac Konstytucji. We meet in front of the Millennium Bank. Remember to take your public transit tickets with you, water, and something to cover your head with. Please be on time. 
  1. On Sunday and Monday we meet for lunch in Syrena (Wilcza 30 street) at 12.00. On Tuesday and Wednesday we will have lunches in different (suburban) venues selected by the person(s) leading the respective trips.
  1. You will have to sign up for a trip in order to attend it. Conference participants will be able to sign up for the trips of their choice during the evening lectures on Saturday (for the Sunday trips only) and on Sunday (for the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday trips). All the lectures take place in the Warsaw University Library (Dobra 56/66 street). If you cannot sign up for the trips personally, ask a friend to do this for you. Unfortunately, we cannot sign people up electronically (e.g. by e-mail). There is an upper limit of 15 attendees per trip. There are no specific requirements – we accept people on a first-come-first-served basis. 

Sunday, 24 June, 9.30-12.00 

 

[1.1] Warsaw Smile 

The spatial logic of downtown Warsaw is defined by an orthogonal grid. The line traced by the Mokotowska, Bracka and Zgoda Streets cuts diagonally across it, unexpectedly disturbing the pattern – not unlike Broadway cuts through Manhattan. Archival research revealed here the remnants of an old road that existed even before the city’s founding, while the behavioral ethnography of the streets’ users – owners of niche boutiques, and passers-by using the sequence of streets as a convenient shortcut – demonstrated the embodied distinctness of the setup. Warsaw Smile is a reference to its U-shaped form, but also a name for a fragment of the city that is missing from its mental map. It is also a testimony to the surprisingly deep historical continuities inherent in Warsaw’s built environment and the quotidian practices of its residents. 

Małgorzata Kuciewicz and Simone de Iacobis are the core of CENTRALA, an architecture studio and a research task force. They have participated in many research projects and exhibitions in Poland and abroad over the past decade, including this years’ Biennale di Venezia.

 

[1.2] Billboardosis and the Fetish of Clean Space 

Walking through central Warsaw resembles making one’s way through a peculiar tunnel – one made of an array of outdoor advertisements: billboards, citylights, banners covering up multiple-storey buildings, or smaller placards and posters pointing in the direction of the nearest liquor store. The commodification of views that has intensified over the last decade has strongly influenced the daily lives of many inhabitants. And yet the debates and actions (including the legal ones) focus mainly on the aesthetics, emphasising the importance of a clean and tidy urban landscape, like in Western cities. During our walk, we will examine the heterogenous sphere of Warsaw’s outdoor advertising and seek to nuance the language of its critique. 

Łukasz Zaremba is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw. His work focuses on visual culture theory, vernacular imagery and landscape. 

 

[1.3]  A (post)socialist Disneyland 

The rebuilt Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a place poised between modernism, socialism and capitalism. Rebuilt entirely after it was reduced to ashes in 1944, it was intended to serve as both a symbol of the historical continuity of state socialism and a modernist housing estate offering a comfortable living environment for the working class. Yet the symbolic ownership of the area has changed many times over since. Today it is more like an open-air museum, although the residents and tourists are not the only ones who claim a right to call and make this area their own. 

Ewa Majdecka is a sociologist who grew up in the Old Town. She is currently writing a PhD at the Institute of Applied Social Sciences, University of Warsaw. It is dedicated to the production of space in this housing estate.

 

[1.4] The Open Jazdów

Open Jazdów is an enclave of wooden Finnish houses in the very center of the city, and the very place where Warsaw’s urban movements were born. The wooden cottages came to Warsaw in 1945 as part of war reparations paid by Finland. Originally they accommodated workers of the Warsaw Reconstruction Bureau. Like with many other ‘temporary’ projects in Warsaw, they have become a permanent and an integral part of the city’s landscape. When in 2011 municipal authorities announced that the houses were slated for demolition (to make way for commercial developments), a coalition of residents and activists emerged. It stopped the development and also transformed the neighborhood. The Open Jazdów Partnership today is determined to develop public space, to create a social and cultural program available to everyone, to practice alternative models of financing and sharing. 

Mateusz Potempski is an architect and urban activist. He is a co-founder and the president of the Architects’ Academic Association and also a co-coordinator of the Open Jazdów Partnership. 

Zuzanna Helena Wiśniewska is an urban activist. She graduated from the University of Warsaw, where she studied sociology at the Institute of Applied Social Sciences, and urban and regional studies at EUROREG. 

 

[1.5] Modern slavery

This trip will expose the labor exploitation hidden behind the facades of food design, lifestyle slogans and chillout music, in some of the coolest restaurants in Warsaw. Last year a massive human trafficking racket (mainly of Ukrainian workers) was exposed and nearly 70 of Warsaw’s restaurants were compromised. The system was invented by a middle-man and based upon body leasing. People were offered temporal jobs, and worked for 12-18 hours a day. Some never got paid, others were subject to blackmail or forced into debt bondage. In many cases their passports were snatched away. This case shows that coerced labor is not an exception but increasingly the rule in global cities, especially in moments of crisis, when forms of primitive accumulation resurface again. 

Bartosz Frąckowiak is a theatre director and the deputy director of Biennale Warszawa.

Sunday, 24 June, 13.00-15.00 

 

[2.1] Property restitution (Mokotów) 

Since this year, Mokotów has a square named after Jola Brzeska – a co-founder of the Warsaw Tenants’ Association (WTA) and one of its most militant activists. In March 2011 she was kidnapped from her home (now on the square named after her) and brutally murdered. Meet some of her friends and comrades who will outline the context in which our group was formed to resist the game-changing legislation – the deregulation of rents. We will tell the story of the uneven struggle between Brzeska and a landowner. Her campaign was to fight evictions and reclaim socially her own house as well as the houses of others. Our campaign ‘Justice for Jola Brzeska’ recently succeeded in restarting the criminal case against the murderers that had been previously dropped, and initiating another one – against the police that covered up the traces of the crime. 

Maria Burza is an active organizer of the Warsaw Tenant Association and a co-founder of the Syrena Collective.

 

 [2.2] Property restitution (Downtown)

Warsaw’s central city has witnessed the largest property restitution scandals. Local authorities joined hands with developers and smaller crooks to seize as many properties as possible – houses, schools, public squares. The process of property restitution (i.e. giving properties ‘back’ to their pre-1939 owners) is often based upon very shaky legal documents. Its proponents also forget that these buildings have often been destroyed during the war and were rebuilt by a grassroots effort. Without the labor of the residents put into the rebuilding and the maintenance over the decades, there would hardly be anything to re-privatize now. The house where the Syrena Squat is currently located is a good case in point of all these issues. Almost completely wiped out during the war and slated for demolition, it was squatted by 50 people in 1945 and rebuilt. The workers-tenants who had wished to create a socially just city, have recently found themselves threatened by evictions. 

Karolina Rybska i Mikołaj Paja are social activists and lawyers engaged in defending tenants’ rights, and members of ‘The City is Ours’ (Miasto jest Nasze), a Warsaw-based urban movement. 

 

[2.3] Property restitution (Praga) 

The Praga district comprises the largest number of communal houses in Warsaw, built mainly before 1939 as private properties. It is here that since winter 2017 the WTA has been conducting a campaign, in which local committees have been set up and led primarily by female tenants. Property restitution is usually portrayed by the elites as the driving force of progress, because it brings in the capital needed to restore the dilapidated housing stock. Here in Praga, it serves as the symbol of social decline. The recent struggles of WSL showed that local authorities use even the most fictitious property claims as instruments of getting rid of the poor. Neoliberal programs (housing reprivatization and the privatization of the energy sector) block necessary public renovations, leave tenants with no heating system and expose them to severe health problems. This is one of the main reasons that Praga tenants’ life expectancy tends to be 5 to 10 years shorter than that of the inhabitants of the Wilanów district, the most upscale neighborhood in Warsaw. 

Antek Wiesztort is an active organizer of the Warsaw Tenant Association and a co-founder of the Syrena Collective. 

 

[2.4] Property restitution (Wola)

Wola was once a famous workers’ district – nicknamed ‘Red Wola’ after a mass strike during the 1905 Revolution that engulfed it. Wola was the site of one of the first social housing alternatives to capitalism in Poland before World War II: the Workers’ Housing Association (TOR, Towarzystwo Osiedli Robotniczych). Since 1989, Wola has been rapidly gentrified. Forlorn factories were turned into upscale condos, and old council buildings gave way to skyscrapers. Here, two co-founders of the TTA have been waging a rent strike for eleven years, and resisting the reprivatization of the building in which they live. Striving to push them out, the notorious landlords retorted with rent hikes and ended up throwing smoke grenades into the building. Recently, the tenants’ resistance was acknowledged by the authorities – after long years of struggle, the building awaits to be officially recommunalized. 

Piotr Ciszewski is a co-founder of the Warsaw Tenants Association, and co-author of the book (‘You won’t burn us all’) covering the history of Warsaw’s reprivatization and the murder of Jola Brzeska.

 

[2.5] Property restitution (Downtown II)

Those who speak most often about property restitution in Poland are men. But the vast majority of those who fight against it are women. Why is this so? ‘When men realize that they didn’t manage to provide a home for the family after long years of hard work, they break down and immediately die. Women don’t give up so easily’ – says Ewa, one of the bravest fighters I know. Women who fight against rent hikes and evictions are usually on retirement, sometimes they are young, but with children, and sometimes they have whole families, but they always say the same – they are most determined and feel responsible for keeping their home fires burning. On this tour, we will visit the most ridiculous examples of ‘wild’ property restitution and describe the daily lives of the people who have been most dramatically affected by it. 

Beata Siemieniako is a lawyer providing legal services to those impacted by property restitution in Warsaw and the author of ‘Reprivatizing Poland: history of a scam’. 

 

Monday, 25 June, 9.30-12.00 

 

[3.1] Outdoor interiors 

On this tour, we will walk through the backstage of Warsaw’s downtown area – through the courtyards and pedestrian corridors that are usually not visible from the main streets. This ‘hidden Warsaw’ is a consequence of the model of the post-war reconstruction – the modernist plan actually accommodated to the older template of the so-called jurydyki – independent enclaves that made up the historical city. As a consequence, Warsaw’s inner city comprises a number of ‘outdoor interiors’ – urban structures that break the usual divides between the pubic and the private. These spaces will be also a departure point for a broader discussion of the post-war reconstruction – an object of a heated debate, both in the past and today. 

Tomasz Fudala is an art historian and a curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. He is interested in architecture and the history of exhibitions. Between 2009 and 2017 he was the chief curator of the Warsaw Under Construction Festival. 

 

[3.2] Memoryscape in Wola 

Warsaw’s memoryscape is a real or symbolic area in which the collective memory is spatialised. The ideology stems from the awareness that the built environment tells us social, political and cultural stories, but there is also a great deal of room for manipulation in this mode of storytelling. It is important to remain sharp and critical about the ways in which ruling bodies and various stakeholders curate public consciousness with regards to commemoration, representation and erasure. Our excursion is an oral walk through Wola – one of the most heterogeneous (and vexed) spaces in Warsaw. It is also a place where many temporalities co-exist. We will wade through the battling of narrations and show how to scrape through the outer veneer of the city.

Małgorzata Kuciewicz and Simone de Iacobis are the core of CENTRALA, an architecture studio and a research task force. They have participated in many research projects and exhibitions in Poland and abroad over the past decade, including this years’ Biennale di Venezia. 

 

[3.3] Public-led gentrification in Powiśle

The Powiśle is a neighborhood located between the Vistula and Warsaw’s escarpment. For years, it was notorious for its poverty, garbage dumps, and industrial plants that were operational here till the end of the 20th century. Nowadays, it is probably the most gentrified neighborhood in Warsaw and the area with the highest real estate prices. Interestingly, the process of ‘enriching’ this urban space was triggered by public and not private investments. The very first one was the University Library, opened in 1999. It is also one of the more intriguing architectural projects conducted after the fall of the state socialism. The trip will show the current status of the neighborhood as well as the former footholds of the pioneers of the gentrification. 

Łukasz Drozda is an urban planner and political scientist with a PhD in public policy from the Warsaw School of Economics. He has published three books on Polish politics, gentrification and urbanization.

 

[3.4] Housing as a monument 

Once World War II ended, it was decided that the very first housing estate built in Warsaw would become a giant monument – a living testimony to the tragedy of the Warsaw Jewry. The rubble from the burned-down Warsaw Ghetto was thus not removed from the city but served as the very foundation of the Muranów district. Replacing the former dense tenement housing, Muranów was slated to become an idealized garden-city, merging metropolitan grandeur with a small-town charm. The housing blocks – perched on the Ghetto’s rubble and hence slightly elevated – display an austere design, conforming to the pre-war functionalist ideals, with a touch of socialist realism. The tour will tell the story of the architects who designed and built this unusual monument and also take us to see some of Muranów’s most famous murals. 

Beata Chomątowska is a writer and a co-founder of the Stacja Muranów association. She published numerous books on architecture and the city – most recently ‘Betonia – Housing Everybody’, about the rise of mass housing in Poland and elsewhere. 

 

[3.5] Freegan Warsaw

Food waste is the central topic at the backstage of contemporary urban systems. Every day, tonnes of edible stuff are tossed away and hidden/locked away from those who might make use of them. With every new supermarket opened, the volume of wasted food is growing, in line with its ecological footprint. But part of this flow is being saved/recycled by the detritivores of an urban ecosystem. This is what we know as freeganism or dumpster diving. The Freegan Warsaw walk is an attempt to follow the paths of urban foragers, to explore the backyards of retails stores, and to experience the taboo-breaking act of rummaging through piles of garbage in search of food. The maximum size of the group is 12 people. 

Jakub Rok is an academic working at EUROREG and activist, interested in the economic alternatives and environmental dimension of development. Often, outside of Warsaw, he’s defending the Białowieża Forest or doing outdoor education. 

 

Monday, 25 June, 13.00-15.00 

 

[4.1] Spectacle Square

Warsaw’s Parade Square is currently Poland’s biggest urban plaza. It also seems to be the least relevant one: formerly the most representative part of the capital, today’s Parade Square is dominated by different kinds of chaotic activities. It has lost its architectural coherency, reputation and, most importantly, its dominant function. It was designed according to a Soviet template, to exalt the Communist state. It was strategically composed of architectural form and media technologies. Between 1987-1991 all Eastern European squares of this kind have systematically backfired, providing stages for democratization and the mass rejection of totalitarianism. The walk will discern the architectural DNA of this gargantuan public space and try to answer the following question: Do we still need Spectacle Square?

Kuba Snopek is an urban planner and researcher. He taught at the Strelka Institute in Moscow. His book ‘Belyayevo Forever,’ on the preservation of intangible heritage, was published in English, Polish and Russian. 

 

[4.2] Uses of useless spaces 

 The notion of wasteland (nieużytek – ‘unused’ or ‘useless’ space – is the Polish equivalent) is deeply pejorative. Referring to the agricultural genealogy of the word, an association with waste and mismanagement cannot be avoided, since a good farmer uses all the land available. Hence, this term fits perfectly into the language of private investors, building up a positive image of their business activities by spatial development. With a visit to the ‘useless’ mega-site of the former Potoki village, on the fringes of Warsaw’s city center, we will investigate the layers of urban and post-rural wasteland: its informal uses, and its environmental aspects – its remaining farmsteads and post-wild greenery. We will also touch upon the complicated property situation of the area and visit the nascent ‘prestige’ housing estates. 

Maciej Łepkowski is a PhD student of Warsaw University of Life Sciences. His research work deals with urban renaturalization and informal urbanism. 

Zuzanna Mielczarek is an architect and urban researcher, who graduated from the TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture, Design as Politics studio. She works on strategies for the remodeling of urban economies and landscapes. 

 

[4.3] Roofology 

The roof is perhaps the most fundamental element of architecture and represents a gesture of closure. It also structures our sensorial experience of the city. Usually only cats, martens and chimney sweeps are familiar with the urban roofing landscape, its outlines, surfaces and tectonics. For most residents, the raised threshold of the city is imperceptible – they experience the city mainly from the street level. Look up and admire the beauty of the ephemeral cloud! Enjoy the power of architecture and human achievement, while admiring the panorama of the city! On this tour, we will climb a number of roofs in the Praga district, gain a novel perspective on Warsaw’s landscape and experience the city in all of its three dimensions. 

Małgorzata Kuciewicz and Simone de Iacobis are the core of CENTRALA, an architecture studio and a research task force. They have participated in many research projects and exhibitions in Poland and abroad over the past decade, including this years’ Biennale di Venezia.

IMPORTANT: ROOFOLOGY STARTS AT 12.30 FROM PLAC KONSTYTUCJI.

[4.4] The Wild Warsaw

Cities are often conceived of as being in opposition to the natural world. In Warsaw you do not have to put a lot of effort into seeing why this is not true. Natural ecosystems overlap with the urban fabric, forming a complex socio-ecological system where the paths of wild boars and beavers intersect with those of joggers and party-goers. The focal point for these interconnections is the valley of the Vistula river. It represents an important ecological corridor protected under the Natura 2000 laws as well as a former urban wasteland now increasingly explored by city dwellers, in search of greenness, urban beaches or a party space. During the Warsaw wildlife walk we will focus on the non-human inhabitants of the river bank, looking for animals’ signs and traces, to reflect on their strategies of intra-urban life. 

Jakub Rok is an academic working at EUROREG and activist, interested in the economic alternatives and environmental dimension of development. Often, outside of Warsaw, he’s defending the Białowieża Forest or doing outdoor education. 

 

[4.5] Monuments to the Urban Now 

Our aim is to discover what we see as ‘monuments’ of Warsaw’s post-1989 transformation and the way they work in the public space of the city. The tour links a few crucial spots in Warsaw’s public space: starting with the Bankowy Square which witnessed the downfall of the Felix Dzerzhinsky statue, through the EURO 2012 football stadium which was originally built in 1955 and then transformed into the biggest open-air bazaar in this part of Europe, and ending in Saviour’s Square where a rainbow installation used to stand and trigger (a wide range of) emotions as well as debates. All these places have had an especially important role in catalyzing discussions and their effects in Poland over the past 25 years. 

Helena Patzer is a cultural anthropologist and a post-doc at the Czech Academy of Sciences. Her research interests include transnational migration, diaspora involvement in development projects, and conflicts around heritage in present-day Manila. 

Krzysztof Pijarski is an artist working mainly with photography, and an Assistant Professor at the Łódź Film School. He works on, and with, the visual archaeologies of museums, archives, landscapes, urban spaces and other ‘machines of representation.’

Łukasz Zaremba is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw. His work focuses on visual culture theory, vernacular imagery and landscape. 

 

Tuesday, 26 June, 10.00-15.00 

 

[5.1] Bródno as a Sculpture Park 

From June 23 to July 1, 2018, the entire neighborhood of Bródno will become a large art exhibition. Instead of being presented with a finished, tangible work of art, viewers will be given a conceptual ‘model kit’ to assemble (by themselves), a display in which a map becomes territory. The exhibition by Paweł Althamer and Goshka Macuga features over eighty locations that were selected while touring Bródno in the company of local experts. The purpose of the exhibition is not to create an idealized, sentimental depiction of Bródno, but rather to present a subjectively composed constellation of things that would introduce audiences to the spirit of the place, its ongoing transformation, the co-existence of its numerous seemingly incompatible elements, defects, and traces of social and urban processes. 

Iza Kaszyńska is a co-curator of the 10th installment of the Bródno Sculpture Park, an animator of local communities and community gardens. 

 

[5.2] Real Real Estate

Each according to his/her mortgage eligibility – this is the way the housing needs are being answered in Warsaw. The city has one of the fastest growing residential markets in Europe, but it is characterized by very little diversity. A newly constructed apartment is usually a low-end 50 m2 unit. With the vast majority (68%) of homeownership, the rental market feels like a leftover one. Apartments for rent are over-furnished and under-invested. The excursion plan consists of several viewings of different apartments – for rent and to sell, from both the primary and secondary market, both old and new. The diversity of the Wola district offers a broader portfolio of options than elsewhere, disclosing the actual diversity of Warsaw’s really-existing real estate. 

Zofia Piotrowska is an architect and urban planner. She has several years of international experience in urban planning, mainly in the Netherlands and Germany. Now back in Warsaw, she is researching non-speculative housing solutions, such as public or cooperative housing.

Filip Wierzchowski is a licensed real estate agent, owner of the Everbest Real Estate Agency. He graduated from Varna University of Economy (Bulgaria). 

 

[5.3] Inhabiting the Open Form 

This tour juxtaposes two modernist experiments in residential architecture: the Rakowiec housing estate designed by Helena and Szymon Syrkus in the 1930s, and the Przyczółek Grochowski housing estate developed by Oskar and Zofia Hansen in the 1960s-70s. With the first (co-designed by one of the authors of the ‘Functionalist Warsaw’ manifesto) being an incarnation of CIAM’s functionalism, and the latter a manifestation of Hansens’ theory of Open Form, they (together) form interesting cases studies to discuss Warsaw’s pre- and postwar cooperative movement, architects’ struggles with housing shortages, and the discrepancy between architectural thinking and the realities of construction. 

Aleksandra Kędziorek is an art and architecture historian, curator and researcher. Her major exhibition project was dedicated to Oskar Hansen and presented, amongst others, at MACBA in Barcelona, Serralves Museum in Porto, and the Yale School of Architecture.

 

[5.4] In-between-urbanism in Wawer 

The Wawer district located in the south-eastern part of Warsaw is an artificial administrative entity made up of a group of pre-war spa towns that in the past were inhabited to a large extent by Jews. Nowadays, the district is a mosaic of various settlement types and reflects some characteristic phenomena for the Polish in-between-city (Zwischenstadt). This is probably the most common settlement form in contemporary Poland. The route of the trip reveals traces of the grid spatial structure focused around the railway line and built as a part of the linear city as well as the portends of suburbanization from the period of the late real socialism and the modern unregulated peri-urbanization with its copy-paste architecture and fast-track transition from the rural to the suburban.

Łukasz Drozda is an urban planner and political scientist with a PhD in public policy from the Warsaw School of Economics. He has published three books on Polish politics, gentrification and urbanization.

 

[5.5] Planning the Unplanned in Ursynów 

The history of the contemporary southern district of Warsaw began in 1970, when a group of architects and urban planners made an attempt to create a social and urban experiment going against the grain of the prevailing socialist construction economy based upon prefabricated and standardized elements. They thought to create a more humane, livable space within the socialist city, returning to some of the older ideals (e.g. by bringing the street back into the planning of the housing estates – socialist modernism famously ‘killed’ the street) and allowing inhabitants to modify common spaces. When completed a decade later, Ursynów was considered a partial success. Yet, the process of the ‘humanization’ of this housing estate left an indelible mark on Ursynów and influenced its subsequent development – both after 1989 and more recently. 

Alicja Gzowska is an art historian working on Polish postwar architecture, both late- and post- modern. She works at the National Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning in Warsaw.

 

Wednesday, 27 June, 10.00-15.00 

 

[6.1] Walking into Mordor 

‘Mordor’ is a very graphic nickname given to Warsaw’s biggest peripheral business district (Służewiec Przemysłowy) by the white collar employees who work there. Located in a former industrial and warehouse area, this office basin has been compulsively developed by multinational investors for their corporate clients without any previous masterplan or consultations with the local community. As a result, today almost 100,000 people work on 1 million square meters of office space struggling against all odds to get to work on time and survive insufficient public transport, a parking nightmare, life-threatening bicycle rides and no pedestrian sidewalks. It you want to get a glimpse of the Warsaw’s new ‘ASAP lifestyle’, as the Mordor community would put it, then this is the tour for you. 

Dorota Celińska-Janowicz and Katarzyna Wojnar are both geographers from EUROREG specializing in urban studies. Currently they work on a research project investigating the new economic spaces and neo-liberal model of Warsaw’s metropolisation. 

 

[6.2] Lemmingrad – a neoliberal paradise? 

Since the construction of Miasteczko Wilanów started in 2002, it has become the fastest growing district in Warsaw. It is also paradigmatic for the social reproduction for Warsaw’s wealthy post-socialist generation (it sports the highest birth rate in the city), as well as being a contested icon of the new middle-class lifestyle. This walk explores the ‘Lemmingrad’ – as Wilanów has been dubbed by its critics, alluding to the allegedly conformist lifestyles of the middle-class ‘Lemmings’ –  through the lens of the dynamics between the public and the private. Its 25,000 residents have no public hospital and only one primary school, yet they declare high satisfaction. Is this the neoliberal dream coming true? We will also explore how this space was produced by forex-denominated mortgages, how class and place constitute each other, and how love and calculation mix in domestic intimacies. 

Justyna Kościńska is an urban activist, a PhD candidate at the Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw, working on access to public services in the urban space. 

Mateusz Halawa is an ethnographic researcher at the Max Planck Partner Group for the Sociology of Economic Life at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. 

 

[6.3] The Friendship Estate(s) 

The so-called ‘Friendship estate’ (Osiedle Przyjaźni) is a popular first housing choice for people migrating to Warsaw. Erected in the 1950s, it initially accommodated Soviet workers building Warsaw’s Palace of Science and Culture. Today, these colorful wooden single-storey houses, preserved nearly intact, serve as student dormitories. The former Estate to the Polish-Soviet Friendship is still one of the most multi-cultural sites in Warsaw and it still does bring diverse people together. Its many former residents (including Mr. Alpha Oumar Konaré, former President of Mali) recall it with nostalgia. Today, it is being engulfed by Bemowo – a housing project that has rapidly developed over the past two decades. The new spatial set-up hardly facilitates camaraderie. It is dominated by gated communities and its only public spaces are shopping malls and cabbage fields. This trip will thus will compare the old and new suburbs and the types of public spaces it has generated. 

Joanna Zamorska and Robert Statkiewicz are affiliates of Bemowskie Centrum Kultury, a public institution and the initiator of several cultural projects in this part of Warsaw.  

 

[6.4] Suburban public spaces  

During this trip we will walk along the streets of Józefosław – a suburban settlement, where the Polish version of the American dream meets the disappointing realities. Only 4 years ago, it was merely a cluster of gated communities, localized along three main parallel roads, with no transverse connectors, no sidewalks, and no public spaces. Things, however, have begun to change. At high costs and with a substantial organizational effort, local authorities together with local activists managed to create the first public spaces where all residents can interact and spend their free time. Is there anything specific about public spaces in suburbia? How are they different from the city ones? What do they tell us about the lifestyle and aspirations of the new Polish suburbanites?

Dorota Mantey is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw. She works on suburbanization and suburban public spaces.

 

[6.5] Over-participation in Białołęka

Białołęka is Warsaw’s (second) most rapidly developing suburb, notorious for its substandard dwellings. It lives within the rhythm of market speculation and rivalry. Its pattern of development generates conflicts around land use and inefficient public spaces and amenities. The ideals and fantasies of urban life, expressed by the new inhabitants, engender something that may be described as a grassroots’ over-participation. What kind of ‘social heat’ is generated by the erratic, ‘self-regulating’ market? We will travel in time and in space, between the rural and metropolitan facets of Warsaw’s suburbs and between the spaces produced by the logic of capital investment and the grassroots attempts of residents to make this area their own. 

Mikołaj Lewicki works at the Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw. He researches the mortgage and housing market in Poland, and has conducted numerous research projects on Warsaw’s public sector. 

Mikołaj Przepiórkowski is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw. He works on the new Chinese urbanization. He is also a heavy metal musician.

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