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Project team:

1. Paolo Galantini (Team Leader)

2. Silvia Ancilotti

3. Marco Biondi

4. Anna Maria Ochalek

5. Erika Ziaco

Location: Krakow, Poland

As the role of European historical centers changes, from an industrial base to a recreational, cultural and educational role, the situation of urban rivers also changes. This is also the case with Krakow, whose architecture is an important part of the historical heritage and the old town is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Vistula River, which flows through Krakow, was once the central transport artery for the urban economy. This has changed. The river now gives the city an important recreational quality, with calm waters and green banks. Could this relationship between the city and its river now be reinterpreted, endowed with a stronger connection, a push with new structures, new life and new functions, new meaning for the whole urban environment?


Krakow's Old Town is still dominated by the mighty Wawel Castle, which dominates the banks of the river. North of Wawel Hill, the city center, with the large Rynek public space as its central point, is contained within the boundaries of the ancient fortifications. This area, Planty, was transformed into a lush urban park in the early 19th century. When this surrounding park reaches the north side of the Wawel and is close to the river, it for some reason loses the connection. This area along the northern bend of the river, next to the castle, could be for the country, where the historical center could meet the new recreational resources of the river and the historical significance of the castle? Could this area, between Planty and the Vistula River, be the place where the 13 million annual visitors to the city could find new and exciting structures and where the inhabitants could have an experience by completing the urban narrative?


This area, squeezed between the historic center, the castle and the river, can give the opportunity to find some answers - through the uses of urban planning, architecture and design - to some of the challenges that arise. For the new decades, with growing concerns about environmental balance, with more frequent river flooding and even a greater emphasis on green and blue recreation, the connection between the city and the Vistula River could challenge a new generation of architects and designers to rethink their roles in historical urban development.

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