Gdynia – a Learning City

Gdynia – a Learning City

Gdynia, as the only city in Poland,is a member of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities. Its goal is to promote thedevelopment of formal and informal education for all the city inhabitants at every stage of life. On the International Day of Education, the representatives of Gdynia institutions were discussing how to instill a mindset of lifelong learning in the daily experience of the city dwellers.

Gdynia was admitted into the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities in 2019. This organization was established in 2015, and at present it has 225 member cities from 53 countries from all the continents. The central idea for the GNLC members is the development of both formal and informal education in their respective cities, which will foster lifelong learning for all the city residents. The mayor of the City of Gdynia, Wojciech Szczurek, created a team which includes representives from various institutions involved in developing a broad-spectrum educational and cultural package for the city, whose task it is to develop methods of lifelong learning in Gdynia – the Learning City.

“Our task is to reinforce the lifelong learning themes within the various city policies,” explains Deputy Mayor Michał Guć, the Head of the team responsible for the implementation of the learning city idea. “We can offer a wide-ranging package of educational activities directed at all resident groups. This package is offered not only by the city institutions, but also by the non-government organizations. Thanks to the work of this team we will be able to broaden the package, so that it reflects the residents’ expectations to an even larger extent. I am convinced that the implementation of the ideas that we have developed will encourage Gdynia residents to broaden their knowledge and continue their education.”

The local municipal government has many institutions which are responsible for preparing a broad-spectrum educational package for the residents. They include the following: the Laboratory of Social Innovations, Senior Citizen Activity Centre, Culture Department at the Gdynia City Council, Education Department at the Gdynia City Council, Gdynia Library, ‘Experyment’ Science Centre, ‘Gdynia Rodzinna’ Family Centre, Gdynia Sports Centre. Representatives of these bodies and institutions met, in order to consider all the relevant options available in the city.

“We hope that we can thoroughly study the target group, identify any deficiences, pinpoint the groups that we, as the city should pay more attention to, and evaluate access to informal education in all of our city sectors,” said Maja Wagner, Head of Culture Department at the Gdynia City Council.

photo: UM Gdynia/Aleksander Trafas

Not only the Sea City is going to change its face in the near future

For many years, Gdynia citizens have been waiting for the implementation of the investment at the square between Władysława IV, Armii Krajowej and Obrońców Wybrzeża streets. In the near future, the previously neglected square is going to change its face. In the summer of this year, the investor planning to build three buildings in this place obtained a building permit, and recently the trees and shrubs growing over the site have been removed, which heralds the commencement of construction works.


The information has been confirmed by Hossa, the investing company. The area is currently being prepared for the implementation of a new investment consisting in the construction of two residential buildings and a public utility building. The construction works themselves will start until spring of 2018. Good news for residents is the fact that the investment has been planned so as to, in addition to supplementing the frontage of this part of Władysława IV Street, also create a new square between the buildings, which is going to be a new public space. There will also be a car park with public parking spaces under the same buildings.

Gdynia on the Vision of Development

Gdynia on the Vision of Development

500 speakers, 96 discussion panels and 17 thematic groups. The biggest economic event of northern Poland, organised in Gdynia, is attracting experts in strategic economic areas. We will also become familiar with ideas aimed at improving the quality of life in the city.

The Forum, held on 25 and 26 June in Gdynia, is centred on the current and most important challenges facing Polish economy. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has taken honorary patronage over the event. The guests of honour at the Forum are: Jadwiga Emilewicz, the Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology, Elżbieta Rafalska, the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy, and Jerzy Kwieciński, the Minister of Investment and Economic Development.

The Forum participants were welcomed by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who called Gdynia the city-symbol of the Second Polish Republic. The President of Gdynia, Wojciech Szczurek, also referred to the history of the city.

Gdynia is a modern city that is proud of its history. When we speak of a vision of development, there is no better place in Poland to search for a historical example. If we look at the history of our city, it is Gdynia that became, in extraordinarily difficult times, the place where dreams about making good use of Poland’s access to the sea came true. Today Gdynia continues to be a city that exploits its own potential, also because it implements its vision of development on the local level,” Wojciech Szczurek said.

The participants in the Forum are entrepreneurs, Members of Parliament, representatives of the world of science and economic institutions. The topics discussed at the Forum include issues concerning ecomobility, digital economy, the construction industry, the power industry, the automation and robotisation of Polish businesses, and the development of corporate social responsibility. On the first day, representatives of power industry companies — PGE, Enea, Tauron Dystrybucja, and Energa-Operator — and of the National Centre for Research and development signed a letter of intent on the creation of the first Polish commercial vehicle using a zero emission technology.

Participants in the thematic panels will include representatives of Gdynia’s local government. Wojciech Szczurek is going to take part in a discussion devoted to opposition experiences and their influence on the unleashing of the Polish economic potential. Marek Stępa, Vice-President of Gdynia, will speak in a debate concerning the directions of development of the area of transport, freight forwarding, and logistics, whereas Bartosz Bartoszewicz will participate in a panel concerning investment areas in digital economy. Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychała, Vice-President of Gdynia, will speak about the government programmes Mieszkanie + (Flat +) and Dostępność + (Accessibility +).

Additionally, innovative ideas aimed at enhancing the attractiveness of contemporary cities, taking part in the Smart City Hackathon — Vision of Development competition, will be presented at the Forum. The organisers are waiting for proposals for solutions improving the quality of life of inhabitants of present-day cities. The winner of the award for the best idea will be selected by a jury and the audience.

Fot. Karol Stańczak/Urząd Miasta Gdyni

What Tomorrow Holds for the City

What Tomorrow Holds for the City

The future of cities as an important centre in the lives of their inhabitants, the role they should play in the social scope, and the responsibility of urban planners and local government officials for their development were discussed by participants of the 6th Polish Urbanism Congress (VI Kongres Urbanistyki Polskiej) in Gdynia. Other topics under discussion were connected with the new district of Gdynia – Śródmieście Morskie and concerned the correlation between the development of the port and the port city and revitalising space as a way to invigorate this part of the city.

“What Tomorrow Holds for the City” is the topic of this year’s Congress and it refers to one of the first urbanism manifests which shaped contemporary thought on the city, penned by Ebenezer Howard, entitled “Garden Cities of Tomorrow”.
Participants of the three-day-long event held on 20—22 June of the current year during five panels discussed how our cities will be functioning in 10 or 25 years. Urban planners tried to address the question of what they could do to make the cities function better and become a place for their inhabitants to realize their aspirations. Local government officials talked about ways of raising the quality of life in cities and the role and place of the inhabitants in local communities.

The Congress participants also took part in 12 thematic panels situated in various urban areas in Gdynia. The subjects of the discussion were, among others, the problem of using water and blue—green infrastructure, urban farming and gardens open to the general public, designing spaces for
a large group of users – senior citizens, children, the disabled. The discussed topics also included problems connected with the Śródmieście Morskie – revitalisation which would liven up empty urban spaces, new uses for industrial plants within the cityscape, as well as the development of port cities and ports within the agglomeration structure.

“Gdynia is a dream city for an urban planner – not often do we get the chance to draw a city on
a piece of paper and then build it exactly as it was planned; and that’s how pre World War II Gdynia, today’s historical suburb, was conceive,” says dr inż. arch. Marek Stępa, Vice-President of Gdynia. “Us, contemporary urban planners in Gdynia, have it more difficult, however we still face challenges that inspire our colleagues throughout Europe and beyond. After all, we’re building the Śródmieście Morskie, Gdynia’s waterfront.”

The Congress was organised by the Polish Urban Planner Society (Towarzystwo Urbanistów Polskich). The Polish Urbanism Congress is not the first big event connected with creating trends in urban architecture to be held in Gdynia. Four years prior, the city hosted the jubilee 50th International Urban Planner Congress. Additionally, the Gdynia Urban Planning Summer School (Gdyńska Letnia Szkoła Urbanistyki) is being organised for three years now –it attracts young professionals from around the world who are educated by experts of international renown.

Fot. Jan Ziarnicki/Urząd Miasta Gdyni

The Sea City Brand

Śródmieście Morskie – a district of the city of Gdynia, changing before our very eyes, is raising increasingly more interest with our western neighbours. It is visited by organised groups of experts and also by the citizens and tourists interested in urban development.

Revitalising such a large post-industrial area located near the city centre is a chance for daring and creative investors and a challenge for the city’s authorities. Śródmieście Morskie possesses another advantage – it is located directly next to the Gdańsk Bay. Areas like this attract the best architectural design studios and thanks to their creations, become a calling card of their respective cities. Śródmieście Morskie where the old meets the new, is visited by many tourists interested in city planning and organised groups of experts. On 15 May of the current year the district was visited by researchers and students of the Osnabrück Polytechnic who toured the Fishermens’ Boardwalk (Molo Rybackie), the Gdynia InfoBox, the Seaport including the Grain Elevator, and the Gdynia Film Centre (Gdyńskie Centrum Filmowe).

The guests were very interested by the post-shipyard architecture which begins to ideally fit with new buildings constructed in the area – says Mr Jacek Debis, Director for Strategic Projects at the Gdynia Development Agency (Agencja Rozwoju Gdyni), the organiser of the excursion. – Śródmieście Morskie gains more and more recognition among urban planners, architects, and investors across Europe. We host many organised groups who wish to witness this unique moment in the existence of any city, when not single buildings, but entire districts are created.

Śródmieście Morskie was also on the route of the Open House Gdynia Festival. For one weekend in the year, the organisers open the doors of utility premises and beautifully designed residences for architecture buffs. The festival shows the transformation of public spaces and unveils the current nature of the city. Participants were able to go on a bicycle trip around the port, see the former Dalmore headquarters or the Port Authority building from where ships are being directed.

Discussion on the identities of cities in Gdynia

The participants of the second edition of the Real Estate Impactor conference, organized in Gdynia by the Rzeczpospolita daily in cooperation with the city, have discussed the identity of cities, their development and impact on the economy.

The theme of this year’s conference was “the Identity of cities – the impact in a global world”. In line with the latest trends, investors rely on the analysis of the potential of specific cities, rather than countries (as it was the case in the past) when selecting a place to invest. They implement their investments with respect to the real needs of the citizens, instead of focusing on business or the economy. Places where the comfort of living is the highest usually win the popularity rankings.
The conference in Gdynia gathered experts and members of local governments, who co-create modern cities, supplement their growth and build their potential. The visitors included, among others, professor Daniel Bell, the dean of the school of political science and public administration at the Shandong University and Richard Kokhuis, who works in Enschede in the Netherlands. Professor Bell told the participants about the ethos of a city as an indicator defining and building its identity. During one of the panels the participants (including Wojciech Szczurek, the mayor of Gdynia) pondered the importance of identity on the development of cities.

Nowadays, in many cities around the world, we often discuss identity and history and the bond built by the inhabitants of the city as growth factors. I’m very glad that this discussion, which offered new, worldwide perspective on the challenges facing Gdynia, strengthened our resolve in taking measures for the sake of the development of the city” said Wojciech Szczurek, the mayor of Gydnia. “This is another conference where we make an attempt to compare experiences of Gdynia to worldwide experiences in order to develop our city in a more effective manner – added mayor Szczurek.

Richard Kokhuis discussed the specificity of Dutch cities. Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychała, the Deputy Mayor of Gdynia, took part in a debate on the process of developing better urban spaces. Marek Stępa, the Deputy Mayor of Gdynia responsible for spatial development of the city, participated in the panel on the art of combining history with modernity when developing plans.

The first day of the conference ended with a gala, where the Real Estate Impactor prizes were awarded to representatives of local governments, city institutions and developers behind some of the most interesting and successful projects, which improve the quality of life in cities on a daily basis.

Port on the seaside

Żegluga Gdańska will start launching cruises at the end of April. You will be able to travel from Gdynia to Hel, as well as explore the third largest Polish seaport from the bay.

During the season, passenger ships sail few times a day. The summer season on the Gdańsk Bay begins at the end of April and lasts until the end of September. Tourists can choose from over a dozen options. Żegluga Gdańska can take you through the Vistula Spit, Gdańsk Bay, and all the way to Kaliningrad.

We would like to particularly recommend cruises along the Gdańsk Bay and visiting the Naval Port, Naval Shipyard, and the Nauta Shipyard. It is a one of a kind opportunity for an up close look at places which are normally closed to the public. In the Naval Port, we can see great warships, smaller vessels, and even a submarine. Near the Southern Pier, ships at anchor and port installations. Along the way, the ship passes the Węglowy Basin, where coal is transhipped onto larger vessels. The cruise route will lead towards the container transshipment port. The voyage will be enriched by the guide telling stories about the port’s history, providing information about the buildings and ships we pass along the way, and revealing many other little titbits.
So – Ahoy! Let the adventure begin!

Waterfront II

Soon, the Śródmieście Morskie district will lose the Gemini Centre located near the Kościuszko Square. The investor applied for demolishing the building.

The Vastint Company, the investor of the Waterfront I complex which included the Courtyard by Marriott hotel and an 11-storey office building at the Prezydenta Quay, is commencing with the second stage of the investment. The Waterfront II is to be created between the Waszyngtona, Hryniewickiego and Jana Pawła II streets. The area of nearly 75 thousand sqm will include residential, office and service buildings, a hotel, and cinema. The investor emphasises that an important element of the concept includes arcades with an open square and a landscape which will allow the inhabitants and tourists to enjoy the unique locale. The investor announced that they will create a space which is friendly for work, leisure and relaxation, as well as living. The Waterfront II building design, prepared by JEMS Architekci, draws from the modernist and white architecture of Gdynia. The area is located near the Kościuszko Square which is a location for concerts, festivals, and other events, and is to constitute an additional highlight and an alternative way to spend free time. Thanks to this new investment, the city centre will be closer to the Gdańsk Bay and the citizens will have fun, work, relax and live by the seaside.

Gdynia Port at Waszyngtona street

The Port of Gdynia will purchase a 62 thousand sqm plot at Waszyngtona 1 street from the Nauta Shiprepair Yard.

The Nauta Shiprepair Yard announced a tender for the sales of the land from which it withdrew its operations. The attractively located plot was finally purchased by the Port of Gdynia Authority S.A., which submitted the best offer. Urban planners drew up
a spatial planning scheme for the area which envisages the development of two functions – the downtown function and the port function accounting for the plot’s location and vicinity of the port.

“We have included the plot in the spatial development plan as an urban or port area. This way, we left the door open for potential investors. We did not exclude the option for the port to be the manager of this place” – says Marek Stępa, the Vice-President of the City of Gdynia. “It should be assumed that the decision on purchasing post-shipyard areas means that they will serve as ports. This does not however, negatively affect what is happening nearby – a posh district of Śródmieście Morskie is being created right next to the Baltic.”

Due to the residential development in such close proximity, no arduous production operations will be allowed on the plot.

“As a maritime economy entity, we are glad that the area near ul. Waszyngtona will remain an element of the port and hope that the Port of Gdynia Authority S.A. will use it for interesting projects which will bring many benefits both locally and nationally” – explains Paweł Brzozowski, Vice-President of the Nauta Shiprepair Yard.

Sea City in Cannes

Sea City areas were presented at the international investment fair in Cannes. The vice-president of Gdynia, together with representatives of 11 European cities, took part in discussions on the possibilities of waterfront development.

Every year, MIPIM – The World’s Leading Property Market attracts real estate representatives from all over the world. It is a great opportunity to present the city, its advantages and areas prepared for investments to entrepreneurs. Sea City is a very strong brand of Gdynia, which attracts investors’ interest due to its unique location.
This year, Gdynia, together with other 11 European cities with similar investment areas at the junction with water, took part in a debate devoted to “New opportunities in Europe’s Waterfront Cities”. Gdynia began a discussion of the second part of the panel attended by representatives of Hamburg, Liverpool, Lisbon, Newcastle, Rotterdam and Stockholm. Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychała, the vice-president of the city, presented Sea City investment areas the purpose of which is to be changed in order to create a new city district.

– We want to create a modern district, but, most of all, our goal is the city to remain a very friendly place to live, where people will be happy – said Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychała, the vice-president of Gdynia, during the debate.

The delegation of Gdynia also participated in the panel entitled “Urbanity: new rules for new cities” and in the debate entitled “Paying for the Waterfront”, devoted to the possibilities of financing key investments in coastal areas. They met with investors from the hotel industry and held talks with the Scottish Minister of Development and the representatives of the prestigious Urban Land Institute Europe.
Gdynia presented the investment possibilities of the city as part of a joint metropolitan position – Invest in Pomerania.