In Krakow, “Pocket parks” are miniature parks built by the Krakow Municipality in close cooperation and consultation with local people in formerly neglected outdoor public spaces, promoting community encounters and providing healthful spaces. They also have ecological benefits, helping bees and wildlife, absorbing excess rainwater and fighting air pollution.
During the Cultural Heritage in Action peer learning visit to Krakow, participants had the chance to discover 3 out of the over 30 Pocket Parks scattered throughout the city. Co-hosted by the Krakow Municipal Greenspace Authority and the cultural institution Villa Decius Institute for Culture, the visit focused on green heritage spaces and places as part of a wider strategy to achieve climate neutrality in cities. The 16 heritage practitioners from 12 cities and regions in Europe who participated in the visit acquired hands-on knowledge on the Pocket Parks’ design, implementation and management, its connection to local and urban heritage values, and to the social life and wellbeing of residents. Participants also reflected thoroughly on how to transfer and adapt this good practice into their realities and localities. The group also explored the role of heritage buildings and natural spaces as places for raising ecological awareness, improving the quality of life in cities and strengthening local communities. Among the cultural and natural heritage places visited were the Potocki Palace, the Villa Decius Institute for Culture, the Symbiosis Ecological Education Centre and the Decius Park.
The group exchanged with local policymakers and heritage experts, including among others Robert Piaskowski, Plenipotentiary of the Mayor of Krakow for Culture, Ewa Całus, Plenipotentiary of the Mayor of Krakow for Climate Education, Łukasz Pawlik, Deputy Director of the Municipal Greenspace Authority and Dominika Kasprowicz, Director of Villa Decius Institute for Culture. Through these encounters, participants had the opportunity to acquire first-hand knowledge of the main challenges and key factors for success in Krakow’s heritage policies and projects.
“Thank you so much, this is the most useful internationship partnership project I have worked with, and everyone was so friendly and helpful, including organisers, participants and hosts” Elliot Goodger from Dundee, Scotland.
Photo credit: Europa Nostra 2022