starzec: Dudziarska, from still expanding ser…


Dudziarska, from still expanding series of case studies on how, exactly, architecture and urban planning could explain the post-transformation history of Poland.

Built in 1994/95, the three blocks on Dudziarska street were designed as a temporary housing for people evicted out of social projects, and for those otherwise unable to secure living due to the income instability. The idea behind the Dudziarska project was to design the whole neighbourhood in a manner supporting the notion to escape poverty; the virtual inaccessibility of Dudziarska street, located on the literal other side of tracks behind the huge railway depot in the middle of nowhere was thought about as a stimulus to motivate tenants to improve their material situation as quickly as possible, and move out of the estate. In addition, to ensure order, some of the apartments were allocated to the quarters for police employees who were supposed to watch the neighbourhood after hours. An isolated location, requiring illegal crossing of railway tracks or traveling around a rarely-circuiting bus (the line was launched only in 2007, after many years of district council efforts), together with the character of the estate in effect caused total ghettoisation, thus effectively preventing residents from any attempt to get out of the situation causing their relocation, and stigmatising them. The temporary nature of the buildings, designed without central heating, requires additional heating with electric heaters, which creates a spiral of indebtedness to the electricity supplier – the cost of heating per month can equal the cost of rent for a room in the city centre, if not even exceed it. As part of social and cultural activities for the residents of the project, cultural activists organised an event of painting the walls with works of contemporary painting, with the Black Square of Kazimierz Malewicz on the wall facing the street in all three buildings. The inhabitants perceived this action as an additional stigmatisation.

In 2017, the city authorities admitted the absolute failure of the Dudziarska project, and announced a gradual abandonment of the estate and its demolition or change of character.

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