Our goal is to design the city center as in its original meaning – an area close to the main transportation hub (train stations and bus stops) where shopping, education, various services and recreational space could be located.
So that it would serve local community as well as be functional and aesthetically appealing for commuting people and visitors. The services would serve both the inhabitants of Otwock as well as the incomers from other neighboring areas (Karczew, Józefów and Warsaw districts located along the train line like Wawer or Anin). The main premise is that the people living close to the SKM train stations would be willing to commute to Otwock to access the services valuable to them instead of going to the centre of Warsaw, as the time necessary to reach it is similar, while lower rent prices in Otwock allow for the development of services that could not compete on Warsaw real estate market. The project goal would be providing co-work spaces, institutions for education and culture (library, community centre with extracurricular classes) as well as a daycare center (kindergarten and nursery, which are lacking in Warsaw), while strengthening the shopping function of the adjustent area and adding minor recreational facilities.
We would like to take into consideration the needs of the parents of smaller children for whom it is quite a challenge to coordinate taking care of the child, work and shopping. By locating the offices/co-working next to the market and daycare. The parents can easily get everything done in the same area and commute back home. Our proposal, regarding work activity, taking care of children and education, comes from the consideration of the needs of community, even of a smaller city with more limited funds, and ones that don’t demand a big tourism movement.
We would like to apply the principles of shared economy and social economy to be able to supply such services on a relatively low budget. The city would invest in the infrastructure (buildings, roads, public areas facilities like lighting etc) while co-works, cultural centres, workshops, daycares would be run by NGOs, which would be funded by both public grants and payments by the users. In this model, the local government is relieved of the duty to hire big amounts of people and finance the upkeep of the institutions. For the NGOs it means freedom to provide more innovative, adjustable services while having an easy start in terms of acquiring the main infrastructure.
There already are the examples of such or similar services in Poland:
- related to work: co-works for parents (Mam biuro, Co mamy), co-works for artists and freelancers (Biurco, Młyn Zabierzów), shared workshops for craftsmen (FabLab Łódź, Wytwórnia Kraków)
- related to child-care and early education (up to teen years) – Inspiro Dom kultury, Podłęże and various private run day-care centres
- related to extracurricular education and community building – LAS Laboratorium Aktywności Społecznej, Niepołomice; Dwa Jelonki, Warsaw;
- related to culture on train stations– Falenica PKP station (cinema), Rumia train station (library and mediateque), Wrocław train station (library), Tarnów train station (gallery)
More information on referencial institutions:
- Coworking for parents – Mam biuro, Warsaw
b) coworking for parents – Co mamy, Wroclaw
c) coworking for freelancers with extra services – Młyn Zabierzów (can be reached in 15-20 min by train from Cracow, even though it’s not located there)
d) shared workshop FabLab run as a NGO in Lodz
e) shared workshop and coworking Wytwórnia run as a NGO in Cracow
f) community centre run as a NGO with the help of the local government in Podłężen. Cracow – Inspiro Dom Kultury – offering classes for people between 3 and 99 years old.
g) a space to be rented by different user groups or lent to the community for various meetings in Jelonki district (Wola) in Warsaw – enabling the inhabitants to create an array of classes and meetings
h) train station cinema – Falenica n. Warsaw
i) train station library – Rumia n. Sopot
j) train station library – Wroclaw
k) a space to be rented by different user groups or lent to the community for various meetings in Niepolomice in Cracow – enabling the inhabitants to create an array of classes and meetings
An important aspect to make such functions work well, especially as supralocal services is a creation of a well-functioning transportation hub – coordinating bus routes and enabling easy transfer between them, improvement of the rail access, introducing of shared bikes. This connects directly to the existent city planning in terms of creating a low-speed zone in the historical centre of the town as well as Park & Ride areas near to the train station.