Why quality of life is the main smart city strategy for this Polish city

Last month, the Baltic port city of Gdynia became the first in Poland to receive the ISO 37120 certificate for its sustainable development of communities—an indicator of its city services and quality of life. For this tier two city in northern Poland, which features the largest Science and Technology Park in the country, the key to becoming a “smart city” is developing user-friendly services for its citizens. Below, we’ll take a look at why this city is so popular with residents, and the project that will propel it forward in terms of becoming “smarter.” — Philippe Leonard 


The Key to Happiness

According to a recent Social Diagnosis, nine out of 10 residents in Gdynia are happy with their lives. The city ranks as 17th largest in Poland, with a population of only 250,000, but its size may be one of the factors that makes Gdynia so liveable. Seen as a “new” city, Gdynia is less than a century old and strategically sits in the only location in Poland with sea access. Commuters can reach their office in 15 minutes or less and thanks to the city’s size, it’s easier for citizens to work with local authorities. Since construction started later here than in larger cities across the country, Gdynia features more modern office space, as well as the latest telecommunication technologies—an advantage for investors.

Four Pillars for Success

For Gdynia, there are four pillars that make for a successful city: quality of life, home, work and leisure. The first project on the horizon that will combine all of these elements is a 20-hectare Sea City district, which will place buildings within a five-minute reach of leisure spaces and the beach. Part of the plan to continue Gdynia’s growth as a smart city, this new district will help make the city, even more, user friendly as it develops over the next decade.

“In today’s world, improving the standards of life quality is essential. As a city, we have global aspirations, which means that we want to relate ourselves to the best locations,” explains Mayor Wojciech Szczurek.

As one of only 42 cities to currently hold the ISO 37120 certificate, Gdynia is ranking with top-tier spots like Barcelona and London, and setting an example for the rest of Eastern Europe to follow as the region’s first smart city.