Real investment in the virtual spatial planning process: quality of urban space in contemporary legal regulations in Poland


  • Wojciech Korbel



City spatial planning is a complicated process with several targets such as the quality of space and proper urban development. Important aspect of this process is the scope of planning tasks required to be done. Another one is the transposition of prepared, virtual plans into the process of real building investments’ creation. The article approaches the problem of chosen existing and newly proposed, legal instruments of spatial planning in Poland, formulating the general thesis, that current polish legislation does not focus on its actual outcome - the quality of investments and its surroundings. Seeking potentially most convenient, legislative solutions, two alternative ways of possible changes have been analyzed. The first way, “the descriptive way”, is a way to provide in local spatial development plans, much more detail inscriptions (than it is now) concerning obligatory features of potential investments. The first way also leads to a greater level of different restrictions inscribed in city’s planning documents and gives less opportunities for architects. The second way, “the evaluating way”, is a way which assumes much smaller degree of planning restrictions in local plans and greater opportunities for architects, but it also allows proper public authorities (other than conservator’s office) to evaluate and possibly reject particular design, not only on the objective, legal grounds but also on the subjective grounds of spatial harmony and visual appearance of the project. The analysis of these two seek the most proper solutions for possible changes in Polish legislation system, considering them either as the alternative ways or as the combination of both at the same time. The research also leads to the underestimated role of urban - architectural competitions. The implementation of this instrument into Polish planning system, (as a legal instrument) can potentially have the highest impact on the quality of designed space and be widely approved by the society.