The ranking lists 66 Polish cities with county [powiat] rights. It included the assessment of such areas as the economy, society, environment and politics – meaning the four areas of sustainable development which drive the quality of life.
The ranking’s leader – Warsaw – was awarded 534 points out of 1000. It means that Polish cities still have much work to do in the sustainable development category. The metropolises of Gdańsk, Kraków and Poznań also scored high. Among the cities with populations from 100,000 to 300,000, apart from the already mentioned Bielsko-Biała, the results achieved by Gdynia (10th position) and Tychy (11th position) are worth noting. Moreover, Tychy ranked highest from among the cities of Upper Silesia. As far as cities with populations under 100,000 are concerned, in addition to Sopot, Świnoujście achieved good results.
Why was Warsaw ranked first?
The greatest assets of the Capital City are its strong economy and good living conditions. It is home to the largest number of companies and developments, with relatively high pay levels. Warsaw is only one of a few cities with a substantially growing number of residents. Also, it is a green city. Nearly a fourth of its area is covered by forests and parks. Large green areas are located in the city centre or in its immediate surroundings – such as Pole Mokotowskie, which is a kind of a “hyde park”, or the right bank of the Vistula River, which is not regulated at all. In recent years, the areas adjacent to the river have undergone revitalisation and have become accessible to the residents. Boulevards were built and authorities let entrepreneurs open bars and restaurants.
Public transport, which is one of the best-organised systems in Poland and a decent system in European terms, facilitates getting around the city. The Veturilo city bike system, listed in international ratings, has been developing significantly for the last couple of years. Unfortunately, a substantial number of cars and industrial plants pollute the air. Warsaw’s residents use a lot of electricity and produce large amounts of waste. What is also a drawback is the small area of land included in the Local Land Development Plan – less than 20% of the city’s area. Combined with confusion around ownership issues, caused by the so called “Bierut’s decree” effect, the Capital City’s ability to plan land development is greatly constrained.
The ranking of 66 Polish cities was announced during the “Europolis” conference held on 3 June in the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw.
For the full text of the report and Europolis rating, visit www.schuman.pl.