The correlation between the identity of city center streets and urban activation of cities: on the examples of Poznań and Warsaw


  • Natalia Regimowicz



In many Polish cities we see the disappearance of individual features of city center areas which give way to more typified and repeatable. Modern urban complexes - often impersonal spaces with no unique character do not encourage maintaining interpersonal relationships that are key for our society. The humanistic aspects of architecture are becoming more and more blurred – the metropolitan structures developed today say nothing about the identity of particular areas. Visual features of buildings, if carefully selected, may be key in contributing to the urban activation of city centers. It’s the esthetics of the lower parts of the buildings that form spatial behavior of residents and shape emotional attitude towards the street. By understanding the pedestrians’ preferences in this matter, the overall satisfaction of using the streets may be improved while those factors that discourage the pedestrians from visiting the city center may be eliminated. Many studies have shown that careful selection of visual features of shop windows is an effective way of creating the “atmosphere” of the street. In the current plans for urban revitalization of city centers the aspect of visual quality of commercial premises is ignored or brushed aside. The confrontation of good practices employed in many European cities with the lack of effective control of the public areas in Poland indicates the source of the problem. There is an urgent need for developing official guides for shop window designs. Their aim would be to emphasize the unique identity of particular areas so that people can appreciate them more.