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Period of revitalisation activities

Urban regeneration projects have been implemented in Bytom for many years (since 1990s), but the intensification was noted after the access to the European Union and the EU funds allocated to such projects. Revitalisation activities in Bytom were carried out on the basis of subsequent revitalisation programmes, including Bytom Revitalisation Programme for 2007-2020 or Socio-economic Revitalisation Programme for selected urban areas and post-industrial areas for the Bytom Municipality for 2004-2015. In the years 2004-2015, urban regeneration projects were implemented in the city – in revitalisation area of ​​the former coal mine KWK Rozbark – stage I, as well as revitalisation of neglected urban spaces by creating Colourful Yards in Bytom. In total, 13 revitalisation projects reaching the value of PLN 67.5 million (of which 63.8% were funds obtained from the EU budget) were implemented.

Characteristics of the revitalisation area problems

Social sphere
Unemployment is one of the most serious and most difficult problems of the urban regeneration area. Unemployment exceeding the city average for occurs there. In total, over 4,000 unemployed people live here (data from 2016). When analysing the unemployment phenomenon, attention should be paid to a small and decreasing percentage of economically active people both in the entire city and in the area. The number of unemployed people in relation to the number of people of working age amounts to as much as 14.4% (compared to: 8.6% in Bytom, 6.5% in Poland, 5.2% in the voivodship). A particular concentration of the unemployed is observed in the Bobrek sub-area, where their share in the working-age population is more than twice the city average.

The second problem of the area is poverty. The problem is the worst in the Bobrek sub-area, where the indicators are three to four times higher than the city average. The main cause of poverty and families’ difficulties is the high level of unemployment, which significantly reduces the quality of their lives. Usually, families affected by it must significantly reduce their expenses to the necessary minimum, falling into rent debt over time. Another manifestation of poverty is poor availability of flats, especially visible in Bobrek and in the downtown part of the area.

Crime is another social problem. One of its reasons are the growing negative social phenomena, such as unemployment, poverty or addictions (alcoholism, drug addiction), resulting primarily from material difficulties caused by unemployment. The phenomena of helplessness in care, education and household matters are also important. The consequences of the negative social phenomena, the concentration of which is visible in the sub-areas of Bobrek, Śródmieście and Rozbark, translate into necessity to support families through family assistance, day support services, in-door forms of care or streetworking.

The majority of people with disabilities live in the revitalisation area: in Bobrek, there are almost three times more of them than the average in Bytom, in Śródmieście – 2.5 times more. In Bytom, as in the rest of the country, the population is aging. In the sub-areas Śródmieście Północ and Śródmieście Zachód, the share of post-working age population exceeds the city average. At the same time,  a slow growth new enterprises is noted.

Spatial and functional sphere
Spatial relations are an advantage of the large part of the revitalisation area due to a unique architecture and historic urban layout. However, the poor technical condition of many facilities and neglected public space prevail in many parts of the revitalisation area. The public spaces have been deeply degraded. The revitalisation area is characterised by the presence of many monuments, but also by a regression of functions in key public spaces.

The main area problem is a poor technical condition and neglected public space. The building elevations are run-down, and the quality of their surroundings, semi-public spaces and courtyards, is low. Semi-public spaces and courtyards are largely undeveloped. The majority of the courtyards are not developed without any recreational infrastructure, playground equipment, and lighting.

• Technical sphere
The data show a significant concentration of municipal buildings in the area of ​​revitalisation. There are different consequences of such a large share of municipal buildings (belonging to the municipality and housing communities) in the area . These are largely old, underinvested buildings, often failing to meet modern media equipment standards, which negatively affects the area. Most of the municipal buildings are over one hundred years old. Only half of the apartments in the municipal buildings are equipped with a toilet. They do not have central hot water (only 161 apartments for over 13,000 have hot water). 55% of the municipal buildings do not have a gas installation. It is particularly visible in the sub-area 8 (Bobrek), where 100% of the municipal buildings do not have a gas installation and are equipped in hard coal-fired tiled stoves for heating.

Every fifth municipal building is in a bad or very bad technical condition. However, the poor technical condition of the facilities and neglected public space prevail in many parts of the revitalisation area.

• Environmental sphere
The mining had a dramatic effect on the city environment. There were numerous effects of underground mining on the surface: terrain lowering and deformation, ground vibrations caused by mining tremors, disturbances in water conditions, which affect cubature and linear objects, among others. Damage occurs also in road structures (humps, breakthroughs, collapses) as well as in water and sewage, and gas networks (pipes burst and sockets fell out).

Additionally, the area bad environmental condition is also reflected in ineffective heating sources, which are one of the main emitters of low emissions.

Despite large green areas, including these of high nature value, the city ecological condition requires improvement. The city nature has been degraded as a result of the development of housing, industry and transport. In the Bytom area, the main sources of noise are transport and industry. As a result, the most unfavourable conditions in terms of noise occur along transport routes and at industrial plants where the permissible noise level ​​is exceeded.

• Economic sphere
The Bytom economic situation has got drastically worse over last years. The city has not managed to develop any prospective sectors that could become new pillars of competitiveness. The largest employer remains the last coal mine operating in the city, i.e. KWK Bobrek-Piekary Ruch Bobrek (approx. 2,000 employees). The loss of the existing economic base and the low capacity to create new dynamic economic activities caused a regression in all spheres, including the economic one. Bytom is also characterised by a relatively low investment attractiveness, also for foreign investors. The city weakness is a small number of large and recognizable business entities. A particularly unfavourable phenomenon, both of an economic and social nature, is a low entrepreneurship of the inhabitants, measured by the number of natural persons running a business per 100 persons of working age. The lowest economic activity is noted in the Bobrek sub-area, where the indicator is twice lower than the city average. On the other hand, in the Śródmieście sub-area, the number of activities are definitely higher than in other parts of the city – the indicator there is twice as high as the average. Unfortunately, the economic foundations of small, local companies operating in a poor market are fragile and their survival is uncertain. It is necessary for the city to attract large enterprises that generate jobs. Hence, the necessity to recultivate polluted areas and develop them in order to improve the quality of the city investment offer.

Description of the revitalisation area development character

Śródmieście – The district is characterised by spatial contrasts, i.e. valuable monuments are adjacent to neglected quarters. The highest share of municipal buildings among all sub-areas (six out of ten buildings belong to the municipality) are a typical trait for the district. Many buildings are in poor condition, as insufficient renovation works are a common problem of the municipal stock. Moreover, the Śródmieście area is well equipped with utilities, including water supply and sewage, electricity, heating, gas and ICT.

Rozbark – Before World War II, Rozbark was an wealthy, bourgeois industrial, commercial and service district. After 1945, it began to lose its character. Currently, Rozbark is divided into several separate housing estates. In the north-west, the district is an extension of the city centre, with dense buildings consisting of former German tenement houses. In some parts of the district, one can still notice buildings typical for rural areas (barns, stables), they are usually located as the annexes of the main buildings.

Bobrek – In the district, nature and types of developments are clearly outlined. In the southern part of the Bobrek district there are single-family housing estates built in the post-war period, and in the northern part – buildings from the beginning of the 20th century, the so-called familioki. The repeatability of the buildings and urban spaces is characteristic for ​​the district, especially in the “Nowa Kolonia Robotnicza” area, which is entered into the register of monuments.

Śródmieście Północ – This area is inextricably linked with the very city centre, both in terms of communication and space. In its northern part there are a dozen or so single-family houses with wooden structures of the “Finnish” type, built in the post-war period. Public spaces characteristic of this area include Słowiański Square or the Academic Square.

Main revitalisation activities

According to the information presented in the Report on the Implementation of the Municipal Revitalization Program. Bytom 2020+ (GPR- means Municipal Revitalisation Program), at the end of 2019, more than half of the 126 revitalization activities identified in the GPR were in progress or had been successfully implemented. Additionally, in May/June 2019, as part of the ongoing update program, another 17 projects (including 4 partnerships) for implementation within the Bytom Axis – by housing communities, businesses, parishes, associations and the Bytom City. The projects, with the total value of the EU subsidy of over PLN 80 million, will be implemented approximately 2023 by 40 housing communities, the City of Bytom, businesses, parishes and non-governmental organizations. Their effect will be renovation of several dozen residential buildings and development of several hectares of public spaces. The ongoing revitalization of the historic Kolonia Zgorzelec workers’ housing estate should be mentioned here as well.

Apart from 14 buildings that are being renovated, other 10 will be also renovated, as well, thanks to the co-financing of the second stage of the project implemented by housing communities managed by the ZBM-TBS Sp. z o.o. The total cost of the project is PLN 5.6 million. The estate, entered in the register of monuments, is located between the Szombierki and Łagiewniki districts. It includes 34 residential buildings, the so-called two- and four-familioki, some of which are currently uninhabited. A building at 14 Józefczaka Street has been adapted for living. In a four-storey tenement house, one sheltered apartment and two five-room training apartments with a shared kitchen and bathroom were built. The apartments on the upper floors are accessible by elevator. The effect is impressive because the tenement house was rebuilt and thoroughly, including the façade, renovated. All installations were replaced, and the building was equipped with underfloor heating powered by modern heat pumps.

In turn, at Dworcowa and Zaułku Streets, and in the Market Square, the new project foresaw not only the reconstruction of Dworcowa (replacement of paving stones and granite slabs, planting plants in pots, small architecture), but also reconstruction of the rainwater drainage system, electrical installations, telecommunication and gas networks, as well as renovation of tenement houses at Dworcowa and Jagiellońska Streets, around the Market Square and Zaułek Street. In the last street, which has preserved its medieval shape, the reconstruction of the surface, drainage, lighting and monitoring, as well as the development of courtyards and small architecture are planned, while at the Market Square, reconstruction of the unused building at 1 Rycerska Street, intended for a service and commercial facility, and a building at 2 Szymanowskiego Street, the former “Gloria” cinema.

Establishment & tools for Special Revitalisation Zone

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