Streetart, urban development
Katowice city in South Poland, has been both famous and infamous because of its industry. The mining industry has made the region desireable for the surrounding countries through history. But the same industry has given the city, or rather conglomeration of cities a bad reputation in our times. Tourists coming to this part of Poland rather go to Krakow, and to see the WWII concentration camps nearby.
Mariacka street and infotent for Katowice2016
This is not the case anymore. Katowice city has taken large steps to become a more attractive and livable city. One of these steps have been to apply for European Capital of Culture in 2016. This did not succeed, but instead they head for being City of Youth in 2015. The organisation for adminstration this has a strong focus on culture to achieve this. Katowice presents itself as The City of Gardens. Part of this image is the focus on public space, and this is when it really gets interesting.
Green canal in the suburbs
The most visible result of Katowice's new image is the transformation of busy streets into pedestrian areas. Where the inhabitants had to stay on the sidewalks before, now they can gather, mingle, enjoy and relax in the beautiful Mariacka street and surrounding pedestrian streets. The parks around in town are taken well care of as green lungs. The city has become a liveable, charming, beautiful city worth visiting. Now its interesting mix of Jugend-style, Modernism, and Communist style buildings are appreciated.
The Spodek sports stadium and the Katyn memorial
The brick house area
The top of the cake is the Katowice Street Art Festival. 2012 is the second year this is arranged. And already now is it impressing how well organized it is, how fantastic art is produced, and how well it fits to the city. In the area around Mariacka street, but also in the suburbs, there is art by local artist like Mona Tusz and Raspazjan, but also like Polish stars like Olek, M-city and Swanski. And the international big names have been here too, like Ludo, Mark Jenkins, Roa, Escif, Hyuro, Moneyless, Tellas and Ganzeer.
Mural by Escif
Katowice has become my new favourite city in the very charming country of Poland. Not only because its streetart, but also because of its ambience, its beauty, and its focusing on art.