City of Walbrzych - mitigating social and economic challenges
This report addresses options for city renewal in the medium sized, but shrinking, Polish city of Walbrzych. It provides an overview of the impact of the rapid closure of the mining industry in the mid 1990s, in terms of high unemployment, family poverty, and the transfer of legacy buildings and housing in very poor condition. A range of EU and Polish investment programmes over the last 20 years have brought new industries and urban development, particularly through the creation of a Special Economic Zone.
The report reviews current initiatives taking place in Walbrzych, and explores these in the context of good practice and options from 25 EU cities, mainly of a similar size and with similar types of problem.
A set of four virtual workshops over four days were held involving 9 cities and URBACT domain experts to explore in more detail the experience of Walbrzych and compare it to the problems and solutions in those other cities and networks. These workshops and discussions are described and analysed.
The report concludes with an overview of possible next steps for Walbrzych. There are also five detailed case studies which present actions taken in five additional cities, complementing the detailed work in the workshops.