nobody asked these people if they want a supermarket warehouse right outside their windows. Lorries start being unloaded here at 6 a.m.

Right: The crisis has set in. Empty gentrified condos in Poznan's inner-city

We called ourselves My-Poznaniacy because we live in Poznań, one of Poland’s largest cities, that is—together with surrounding areas— home to nearly million inhabitants. It is located half way between two European capitals: Warsaw and Berlin. Poznań used to be a capital too – this is where the Polish state was founded a millennium ago.

We came together when we realized that institutional framework of contemporary liberal democracy does not facilitate civic participation in decision-making processes affecting peoples’ immediate surroundings. When, for example, somebody starts building a multi-storey high-rise, a supermarket, or a military airbase right outside your window, where there used to be a park or children’s playground, nobody will ask your opinion let alone consent.

The only way to claim our right to the city was to establish a legal entity that could be recognized as a party to administrative and legal proceedings. This is what My- Poznaniacy essentially is. Since we were formed in 2007, we have become involved in a number of such cases as Poznań’s inhabitants—who felt their right to the city was being impinged upon— asked us to officially represent their interests.

Being an official party in proceedings gives us access to information “regular” citizens are usually denied. Thus, we have become an intellectual resource center and a budding think-tank, and we have accumulated knowledge on current spatial undertakings in Poznań and elsewhere, resistance it generates, and impact it is likely to have. We freely share and distribute this knowledge on our website and during press conferences we regularly hold.

We have thus build our reputation as Poznań’s prime watchdog organization that sounds the alarm whenever spatial policies are congruent with narrow economic interest of those currently in power and not with the well-being of Poznań’s denizens. In a number of cases this has led to positive changes.

In a report published in April 2008 we enlisted over thirty “conflicts spots” in Poznań. Some of them are relatively recent but most are deep-seated and enduring. They have become further exacerbated over the last decades precisely because they have been acknowledged neither by law nor public opinion.

We believe spatial conflicts can be resolved, and resolved in favor of those hitherto excluded from the decision-making processes, only when their right to the city is institutionally recognized and acted upon. Only thence a true democracy— that is urban democracyis possible. My-Poznaniacy is a step towards this objective.




Left: Overbuilding on the city's fringe. No public spaces there - these bring no profit
We sound the alarm when new housing is being built in lieu of such parks - the only remaining public and free amenities in Poznań

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I opine that to receive the loans from banks you ought to present a firm reason. But, once I've got a secured loan, just because I was willing to buy a house.
JoanneGrant30 , 11 czerwiec 2011

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