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The Azory regeneration process in Kraków

Edited on

28 December 2018

By Biernat Natalia

The Azory housing estate is a deprived neighborhood that is undergoing a regeneration process in Kraków and is the subject of the URBinclusion project.

 

The strategy that has been prepared for the Azory estate was focused on creating an estate cooperation platform and to enable the implementation of social activities planned with the participation of local communities. The activities that have been conducted so far include regular meetings of the stakeholders working in the area, as well as meetings with residents. Activities were designed specifically for the inhabitants with the aim of involving them in the life of the neighborhood, improving safety in the area and reducing poverty. These activities will enable the integration of the local community by strengthening the local identity through neighbors’ cooperation. Safety in the area will be improved through cooperation with streetworkers and police. The activities aimed at reducing poverty will be pursued through the improving professional activity of the residents, organizing workshops for the local inhabitants and activities associated with the social economy.

As a response to one of the project’s challenges which is strengthening social ties and the participation of residents in local activities, the URBinclusion project team has recently organized two local events in the Azory neighborhood: one feast and one picnic. The aim of these meetings was to integrate the residents of the housing estate and to strengthen the social bonds in the area. In both meetings, approximately 250 children, teenagers, adults and senior citizens were involved.  

The first event was the “Summer greetings” feast which was organized by the Local Activity POINT, the City of Kraków, the Primary School, the Secondary School and the Senior Activity Centre. The aim was to integrate inhabitants from different age groups. During the feast they had the chance to meet each other and talk about their district. Some special activities were also organized such as: a children competition with prizes, a classical dance show and the announcement of the winners of the photo contest "The most beautiful floral display in the Azory". The participants of the Summer feast also planted several dozen of new plants in the Social Garden located in the Azory neighbourhood. It was also an opportunity to promote local projects in competition within the citizens’ budget.

The second activity was a meeting of the Azory residents during the “Autumn greetings” picnic. The picnic was organized by the Local Activity Point, the Children's Friends Association, the City of Kraków and the Senior Activity Centre. The picnic also took place near the Social Garden of the Azory estate.  Children participated in recreational activities such as: face painting, drawing, workshops for making animals from balloons and making gigantic soap bubbles. Adults who attended the picnic had the chance to chat over coffee and tea or visited the Social Garden. During the “Autumn greetings” picnic, representatives of the city office and external experts from the Jagiellonian University conducted questionnaires and interviews on the sense of security and social activities held in the Azory area. Residents talked about their lives in the neighborhood and the changes that have taken place in recent years. Inhabitants shared their insights regarding the organization of events in the area. Participants from the Senior Activity Centre shared stories about their activities: artistic works, events and trips. The results of the survey will be used in the Local Operational Implementation Plan prepared for the URBinclusion Project.

The Azory neighbourhood is perceived in Krakow as one of the most dangerous areas in the city. In order to combat the stereotypes of a dangerous neighborhood, the police and fire brigade were invited to attend both events. The children had the chance to see the rescue service and police cars up close and talked to the officers about their hard work and tried on the firefighters' equipment.

Such events are always welcomed by residents of different ages. They often complain that they do not have a lot of opportunities to meet and have fun together. It is linked to another need of these people: to have a place to meet each other and to integrate the residents of all ages. The next step that needs to be taken in the URBinclusion project focuses on the meeting of active residents and representatives of local institutions with the policy makers in order to find a suitable place for organizing local events indoors. The aim of the meeting is to convince policy makers of the need to create a place for the institutions operating in the Azory.