One of the main challenges Krakow faces is quality of life, but now the city is looking to fix that with goals put in place that will make the city a better—and smarter—place to live. From tackling environmental pollution to improving educational facilities, here are the ways Krakow is stepping up its game to become one of Poland’s Smart Cities.— Bruno De Man
From metro to modern metropolis
Krakow, the capital of the Malopolska Region, is already seen as a hub of science, education and development. The city is home to 23 higher education institutions and 180,000 students, as well as 100 scientific and research institutes and 2,000 scientific workers. In addition, Krakow is a cultural city that is a “friendly and attractive place to live and spend free time.” With such a strong academic and business background, it’s only natural for the city to want to improve and develop the services it offers. In an Emerging Europe article, Elżbieta Koterba, Kraków’s deputy mayor, says that the city’s main priority in terms of development is “the creation of areas that are attractive for investment, modern yet friendly and are green sites for living and relaxation.”
In an effort to improve the quality of life for citizens, Krakow is honing in on two areas in particular—infrastructure and urban planning—which will help reach its Smart City goals of becoming “a modern metropolis that offers a high quality of life.” One of the first orders of business: the construction of the first subway line. Over the past few years, the city has also looked to solve environmental pollution issues by improving air quality, in addition to increasing the number of green and recreational areas. Out of four urban space projects underway, two are devoted to revitalizing and re-envisioning brownfield sites such as the banks of the Vistula River and some of its post-industrial areas. Other projects, such as the one taking place in Krakow’s eastern district of Nowa Huta, will breathe life into some of the more tired parts of town, offering the incentive companies and start-ups need to move business headquarters to a new area, helping to grow and develop the neighbourhood—and city’s—culture in the process.
Krakow is joining the likes of other Polish cities like Gdynia, who are looking to sustainable, user-friendly services to create a better quality of life for its citizens. By improving sectors like infrastructure and urban planning, these cities are building on their strong global reputations and proving that they are modern, sustainable and innovative places to live, as well as attractive spots for businesses and tech industries to grow and share knowledge.