RegioStars Awards aim to identify good practices in regional development. They are awarded annually by the European Commission to highlight innovative projects, which could inspire other regions.
This year there were five award categories. One of the award categories was a CityStar category, which awards the best project implementing innovative solutions for sustainable urban development. This year’s winner was the project of the Revitalization of Lower Town District in Gdansk, Poland.
CityStar: Revitalization of the Lower Town Gdansk
Gdansk’s Lower Town has historically been one of the most neglected districts of the city. In order to address this, a project has been carried out to revitalize historic parts of the City of Gdansk with the aim to attract sustainable long-term investments and encourage greater social inclusion. The revitalization of the Lower Town included investments in infrastructure and social potential. Investments also funded social and cultural activities to tackle the complex issues of the area. Investments also promoted social inclusion, particularly among children and young people from disadvantaged families.
Residents were involved from the beginning through a multilevel partnership, which was created by the City of Gdansk. Namely, residents were asked about their needs and expectations, and their responses were taken into consideration during final stage of proposal drafting. This approach of listening and adapting to the needs of local residents is something that can be transferred to other urban areas and regions, regardless of their size and economic potential.
In total 33 facilities were revitalized within the area. There were more than 200 social inclusion programs that attracted 9,463 participants. In order to attract investments and businesses, public spaces have been revitalized and spaces for creative industries and cultural activities have been created.
A former hospital building has been sold and will be turned into a hotel. Further actions are in the pipeline.
The project attracted approximately 8 million EUR of investments. European Regional Development Fund, one of the European Structural and Investment Funds, co-funded the project with EUR 5 792 000.
The revitalisation of the Lower Town district of Gdansk was made possible through the creation of a broad coalition of social partners such as local communities, artists, NGOs and businesses in order to fight social segregation. Indeed, one of the most significant results has been the interest shown by residents to get involved in these new opportunities.