The purpose of cities was always to make the life of their inhabitants better and more comfortable. They always have been and still are the place where many of us live. City dwellers around the world find it easier to obtain education, find jobs or be entertained. These are the main reasons why 50% of today’s world population live in cities; this number is expected to be as high as 70% by 2050. It’s also in cities where the biggest economic, social, environmental and spatial problems of the contemporary world are concentrated. Ongoing urbanization processes force mankind to constantly look for answers to the most pressing problems facing cities, but they are also a chance for renewal and rebirth. Reintegration of socially excluded groups back into the wider community, so as to ensure that everyone can actively function in their environment, has been one of the priorities of contemporary policy-makers in order to make each inhabitant feel happy and safe and perceive themselves as a part of the city, because it’s the people who create cities. In order to join the global dialogue, Poland is seeking to host International EXPO 2022; the proposed theme of the Exhibition is urban renewal under the motto ‘City Re:Invented’, a theme constituting a challenge for the world at large and a condition sine qua non for the continued development of cities around the world.
Poland is a dynamically developing country in East-Central Europe, a member of the European Union and NATO. Like other countries in the region, Poland made a civilizational leap forward in the recent years and is a perfect example of sustainable social and economic development. A comprehensive and integrated revitalization of urban areas has been one of the driving forces behind these developmental changes. The entire country is now the arena of modernization and transformation processes. Cities and regions become more friendly to their inhabitants, while active communities participate in dialogue, work together to solve their problems solving and commit to building a better future for next generations. Poland’s position in Europe and the world is continuously growing, thanks to such strengths as our human resources – Poland is a country of enterprising people, one that develops through creativity and knowledge of its citizens. From an economical point of view, development can be seen both in traditional industry branches, such as electric power, construction, engineering, automotive or furniture, as well as in modern knowledge-based economy , including technologically advanced industry. Poland has a lot of experience in organizing large-scale international events – in recent years, our country hosted the UEFA EURO 2012 European Football Championship, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the NATO Summit or the World Youth Day 2016.
Łódź. Discovered Anew
Łódź, situated in the very heart of Poland, is among the world’s biggest “revitalization testing grounds”. Creativity, initiative and energy are inscribed in its inhabitants’ DNA. Łódź experienced its most rapid development in the 19th century, when the textile industry was built, and the speed of these changes is still considered as the fastest in world history. The textile industry, which was the city’s foundation, did not survive the turbulent transformations after the fall of communism and its centrally-planned economy. Today, after a spectacular collapse, Łódź is experiencing an equally spectacular revival thanks to its unique agenda, focused on urban renewal and creative industries. Today, Łódź is a pioneer and a leader of revitalizational activities in Poland and in the world. From the very beginning, its objective was to ensure that all interested parties – city authorities, inhabitants, entrepreneurs, supported by domestic and European Union funds, cooperate to achieve a common goal. Initially, revitalization took the form of isolated actions; later, pilot studies were launched, aimed at carrying out thorough research into economic, social and urban spaces, as well as transforming them. Today, we are conducting one of the world’s biggest comprehensive city transformation projects, involving a historically unique 19th-century postindustrial downtown area, where almost 1 of the agglomeration’s inhabitants currently live, spread over more than 1600 hectares of land. Łodź is situated at the intersection of international road and railway communication routes, now also becomes the center of city transformation and renewal. Here, revitalization is seen as an open process, leading to a constant improvement of quality of life.
Poland is located in the center of Europe, Łódź in the center of Poland, and the EXPO site is situated in the very center of the city, which means it will be easily accessible for everyone in the world. Even today, Poland can be reached from all of East-Central Europe, Scandinavia and German-speaking countries in less than two hours. A 2-3 hour flight from Poland is enough to get to almost any location in West Europe. Make the flight an hour longer, and you can reach the Middle East and a large part of Northern Africa. What is more, 10 million potential visitors to the exhibition live within a 2 hour drive, and by 2022 a 5-hour drive will suffice for almost 37 million potential visitors to get to Łódź. Łódź wants the Exhibition to return to its urban roots, to the very heart of the city. This approach will not only let us talk about urban renewal, but also implement it in practice. Moreover, visitors will be able to witness the transformation process of a city, providing them with a unique opportunity to explore the Exhibition themes “on a living organism”.