Katowice’s Urban Transformation: Redefining the Post – Mining Identity through the Arts

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Dominika Glogowski, artEC/Oindustry and University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria


    The exploitation of natural resources and its processing leave implacable imprints on the environment. The visual scars in the landscape mirror the economical and social aftermaths of the mining industry’s shutdown and the abandonment of the site. Of approximately fifty mines in the broader cityscape of Katowice, the capital of Silesia in Poland and historical territory of the black gold, only three sites remain active today. Katowice is on the verge of reclaiming the wounded land and redefining its grey image of heavy industry into green. Culture serves as the main transformation strategy that embraces leisure as catalyst for growth, migration, representation and promotion. In close proximity to the center, the government envisioned a ‘culture-axis’ and commissioned three buildings on the former mining site Katowice – Kleofas, which opened in 2014/2015. The terms identity and memory are embodied by the Silesia museum, the concert hall of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the congress center. The unique constructions embrace the city’s ambition of a prestigious international hub of outstanding artistic ventures. Simultaneously, the site challenges the Creation of urban space within the vast scale of postwar town planning. The modernist zoning approach emphasizes singular entities instead of (social) cohesion. Does the ‘culture – axis’ induce an interwoven urban tissue that interrelates with neighboring institutions? My paper addresses the site’s revitalization process in the realm of the city’s aim of a Metropolis and animates the discourse on the local, regional and international significance of the design concept and infrastructure, the implementation of the cultural mining heritage, the arts as creator of belonging and the function of culture in place marketing and sustainable economic development.