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How to build and how to live?

     
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How to build and how to live?

Effective housing policy has been a challenge not only for Warsaw. Building of friendly future, the one “you can live in” should constitute the axis of the metropolitan development strategy.

Warsaw, in comparison with other cities from the region, has a great developmental and investment potential. Office space occupied by services amounts to more than 4,5 million m2, and in Budapest, for comparison, less  than 3 million m2. Of course, the scale of both cities has to be taken into account but it shows the potential of Warsaw. In the perspective of year 2030 the capital city of Poland will have offered total of 10 million m2 of business space. Similar trend and interest is clearly visible when it comes to housing development. Boom in this sector is clear and new housing estates “patch” the spaces. It is visible especially in Mokotów, Wola and Bemowo as well as Białołęka - distant from the city centre. Praga, which for many years was in the margin of developers’ interest (as well as potential residents), experiences  its Renaissance, today approx. 400 new flats are placed on the market every quarter. Undeniably, it was influenced by a symbolic coapting of Praga to Śródmieście through the opening of II Metro line as well as revitalization actions undertaken by the authorities and private investors such as calling Soho Factory, Google Campus into existence and construction of Centre of Creativity Targowa. It is worth mentioning that real estate experts estimate that till 2025 over 170 thousand new flats in the Capital City – erected mainly by commercial investors will have been constructed.

During MIPIM fair, City of Warsaw will present a few offers of land for residential development.

Challenges and goals

It cannot be denied that Warsaw has been developing and it has to be noticed that because of this development the city faces challenges and limitations which it did not have to confront over the past decades. One of them, probably the most important one, is a constantly growing density of housing in the very centre and in the districts adjacent to Śródmieście and thus lesser building land available. It appears that the solution (to reconcile housing needs of the City with keeping a constant growth of value of capital commercial investments) is the so called mixed-use development - that is a policy based on connection of services and commercial usage with housing within one property. Another direction of development may be the high-rise building. Currently this trend concerns mainly office properties, but there are some examples of nearly entirely housing properties such as Złota 44 or Cosmopolitan Twarda 2/4. It has to be added that they are very prestigious and very expensive. What deserves commendation in Warsaw is the fact that the city seeks new spaces which may undergo revitalization with benefits for residents and business. The following activities may be the examples - the efforts leading up to revitalization of former-factory land of Mechanical Works Wola (335 thousand m2) and changing them into a modern housing estate with huge services and commercial component, the attempts to develop Odolany in Wola district – “a blank page” of capital urban planning – and housing and commercial reconstruction of Żerań.  Construction of new buildings or using the existing housing infrastructure? Making its way towards the development of the city up to the sky or to plan investments broadening the reach of metropolitan area?  Joining housing investments with commercial ones or to separate them? These are the questions answers to which have to be found by the authorities along with the residents and investors.  It is worth to talk because it is about the quality of living in one of the finest Polish cities.

Social Warsaw

When talking about housing policy of the city, the issues connected with prevention of housing exclusion and homelessness cannot be forgotten. In this respect Warsaw operates quite efficiently. Since 2007, when Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz became the Mayor of Warsaw, nearly 2500 social flats have been put into service – more than in the whole period since 1990. Till 2017 another 733 social flats will have been put into service for the tenants who cannot afford their own lodging. It has to be admitted however, that over the last decade a number of social flats belonging to the city has dropped. It results of the fact that until recently the tenants could have purchased them for 10% of market value. In this way 58 thousand of Varsovians (till 1995) became the owners of municipal flats. Now the “threshold” entitling to purchase of the flat at preferential rates is 10 years of settlement and 50 % of “own contribution”. Another problem has been the unsettled status of some of the municipal buildings which has been the “legacy” of the inglorious Bierut Decree nationalizing metropolitan properties. This issue, however, has to be settled at a higher level – by the legislator.

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