Polish city authorities at Floriade
A group of Polish civil servants from 5 different cities visited the Netherlands. They are dealing with greening own cities and they were looking for inspiration at the Floriade exhibition to improve own surroundings with green.
The group consisted of representatives of Polish cities: Warsaw (with the vice-president on board), Kraków, Katowice, Łódź and Gdynia.
Value of green in the city
At the Floriade expo the group was guided by the landscape architect Niek Roozen, who designed the whole space of the expo. Niek has plenty of experience, as he visited all the Floriades that took place at all (the first one as a child with his father)! Niek was also the main designer of Floriade in Venlo and Haarlemmermeer where the basic rules for the green cities principles were established. Next to explanation about the goals of the expo, Niek shared the way of thinking about the greenery in the city. Everyone who is looking for a place to live is looking for a nice, green environment. None of us likes to live next to a highway, but all of us want to have a park next door. Therefore
greenery is a crucial value, it is a start of any other development in the city.
Therefore also Floriade territory was build starting from green infrastructure followed by buildings and road infrastructure.
But indeed many other cities already have an existing structure already and greenery is being implemented within the existing grid of streets and buildings. Therefore the group looked for practical solutions they could use in their cities like a rubber non-slip stripes build-in in the wooden bridges to avoid accidents during rainy days. And on Gdynia (city with a direct access to the sea) the shelfs used as padding in several pavilions made a great impression as the city also has easy access to this cheap and natural paving material.
Expo Łódź 2029
For Łódź it has a double importance: they wanted to see the organization behind the expo as the city is going to organize own expo in 2029. In this sense the exchange of experiences cannot be overestimated. But also topics of both expo’s cooperate with each other: Floriade shows the development of a new green city and the aim of the Łódź expo is to show the green revitalization of an existing city. Therefore both expo’s complement each other.
Being in the Netherlands in the second week of June the group wanted to visit also other events taking place in the Netherlands. The annual exhibition FlowerTrials where the newest cultivars were showed gave the group the insights in the breeders world which is normally further in the chain. Flower trials was also a nice moment to see the scale of plant production in the Netherlands and wide range of plants offered by the Dutch producers. On the other hand GreenTech was an eye opener on the field of modern greenhouse technology that is used in the Netherlands and exported all over the world.
The group visited the garden of Piet Oudolf who is very famous also in Poland. (Recently a book of Oudolf was translated into Polish and it is a big success) Therefore a visit in his garden was a must for the group. They chose for Vlinderhof (Maximapark, Utrecht) as it is the only garden designed by him and growing in a public park. It is a good example that awesome designs can also be realized in cities in speaces maintained by the municipality. Green city doesn’t have to be boring and can take breath away!
The Dutch way
The group was also impressed by many bottom-up initiatives that result in nice realizations: like a garden of Piet Oudolf realized for the municipality of Utrecht and maintained on a daily basis by a group of volunteers or an event Open Garden Amsterdam where many small museums or even individual persons are organizing a common event for external guests.