I wasn’t born in Poznan but I spent a big portion of my teenage life here. I know, or as it turns out later I just to knew this city very well. Since the Middle Ages Poznan has been business oriented city. Mostly due its geographical placement, it has been transit city between Berlin and Moscow. Thus for many years the main urban development strategy were business and consumption facilities. Poznan is regarded as the second most prosperous city in Poland and host regular international trade fairs. One could see that in urban development actions. More and more office buildings, plans for sky rises. Moreover in last several of years urban development (especially consumption facilities) continues to grow. EU crisis has not influenced Polish economy (yet), partly because of conservative conservative development strategy, partly by learning from other cities mistakes. This strategy of looking at other european cities mistakes and success leads Poznan to change. Berlin is the nearest big city abroad. I live in Berlin since one and one half years now. I am still getting to know the city. It owes its character mostly by gentrification areas which became magnets for different communities of artist. City naturally took advantages of it and push it even further stimulating further development of art and culture pivoted city. The most prominent example is history of Bar25 and MorritzPlatz which includes Etsy, Betahaus, Prinzessinnengärten, Aufbau Haus, GSG to name just a few.
Know how* Berlin
Last summer, after 3 years of living in Cracow, I came to Poznan on vacations. During sumer the city is pretty vibrant. Not as full of tourists as I am used to see on Cracow’s streets, but rather vibrant in a way of local activities happening there. Apart of temporary actions like Kontener Art, Transantlantyk International Music and Film Festival, recently wining recognition Animator Festival and other open airs I see a lot of ongoing changes and new local ventures. Poznan today is still one of the largest Polish centers of trade. However it takes more and more from its neighbor city abroad. More recently claiming to be an important design center as a number of initiatives were undertaken. The most prominent one Concordia Design. Inspired (or if not at least similar) to Berlin’s Betahaus is as far as I am concerned the first co-workng space in Poznan. In 2008 Vox design held a competition for a Restoration of old printing hause (curently Concordia design). The best proposal, not winning involves Relocation of old building. Author Describes it:
"… The artist’s concept provides for turning and shifting the Concordia building in order to restore a valuable historical monument to the city. As a result of the relocation, the former printing house would become well visible from many directions, thus preserving its iconic presence in the Poznan downtown …"
I am digressing, Anyhow there are even more other emerging city project Poznan Science and Technology Park undertakes courses and training for people interested in 3D shit. Actually these guys are pretty darn smart. Their Ultra Render Product can justify my MacBook Air as a production machine purchase. Others are Poznan School of Form, Arts&Fashion Festival, Malta International Theater Festival and Maski Festival to mention only a few. Poznan is also becoming a know-how hub with many technological parks and transfer of knowledge centers.
The reason I wrote this piece is that many of my friends who live in Poznan often say that city stuck in Stagnation and they don’t see any progresses. I am pretty convinced that, it is the opposite and looking forward to see more.