The city of Łódź, when it was a settlement, was located among forests and small rivers. These natural resources (wood, water) made it possible to transform the textile settlement into a city of textile industry, which became one of the largest cities in Poland. The development of textile industry and economic growth, caused wasteful use of natural resources and the tremendous negative effect of the environment (cutting of the Łódź Forest and degradation of the river network).
The beginning of the political transformation (1989) initiated systemic improvement of the quality of the city's natural environment. In 1993, the urban concept of the "Green Circle of Tradition and Culture" was created – dedicated to integrate protection of natural and cultural values, which consisted of landscaped green areas (including parks, cemeteries) as well as historic residential and industrial complexes of Łódź, shaping the identity of the city, which later became revitalized areas.
The next step towards taking into account natural values in the processes of city development was the development of the so-called Blue-Green Network, which is a comprehensive concept of shaping, protecting and restoring the lost natural values of the city, aimed at improving the quality of life in Łódź. This concept assumes the shaping of the city's blue-green infrastructure into a system of spatially connected natural and arranged green areas, and the reconstruction of the city's river network (ecological corridors). These areas are meant to perform various ecosystem functions: environmental (biocenotic), retention, recreational and landscape functions. In 2010, this concept was included in the study of conditions and directions of spatial development of the city (a type of master plan in Poland), reflecting the contemporary trends of naturalization of the city's nature (rewilding city) and becoming a comprehensive response to the need to adapt the city to climate change.
The implementation activities so far have consisted in renaturing the city's river ecosystems and adapting the city by building innovative solutions in the field of blue and green infrastructure, serving to increase the capacity of urban space to retain water, as well as greening public spaces.
Participants of the workshop will visit selected places where projects within the Blue-Green Network have been implemented and will have the opportunity to evaluate the presented solutions in the context of their own experience.
Workshop lead by:
Tomasz Jurczak PhD Associate Professor – Head of the UNESCO Chair on Ecohydrology and Applied Ecology, University of Łódź, Poland (UNESCO Chair on EHAE)
Katarzyna Izydorczyk PhD Associate Professor & Director of the European Regional Centre for Ecohydrology of the Polish Academy of Sciences ERCE
Kinga Krauze PhD – ERCE
Agnieszka Bednarek PhD – UNESCO Chair on EHAE, ERCE
Adaptation to climate change projects such as: restoring the river ecosystems and developing innovative solutions for blue and green infrastructure to increase the capacity of urban space to retain water, as well as greening public spaces, are carried out in Łódź by UNESCO Chair on EHAE and ERCE in cooperation with the City of Łódź Office. This is possible thanks to the European projects implemented by Łódź scientific units, such as: SWITCH: Sustainable Water management Improves Tomorrow`s Cities' Health (EU, 6 PF), ENABLE: Enabling green-blue infrastructure in complex social-ecological regions - system solutions to wicked problems, RECONECT: Regenarating ecosystems with nature-based solutions for hydro-meteorological risk reduction, ATeNaS: To Ally Technology, Nature and Society for integrated urban water management, euPOLIS: Integrated NBS-based Urban Planning Methodology for Enhancing the Health and Well-being of Citizens, czy EH-REK: Ecohydrologic rehabilitation of recreational reservoirs “Arturowek” (Łódź) as a model approach to rehabilitation of urban reservoirs.