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New life: Katowice is experiencing a rebirth thanks to a diverse range of industries


are investing more and more in brownfields, Mr Kulig says.“We have to bring brownfields back to the city and community. Greenfield investments in the closest area of the city centre are really problematic nowadays, due to lack of available plots and rising land prices—in addition to plots thathave problems withminingdamages.” Industrial space developers Panattoni and


7R have announced a brownfield logistics pro- jects on post-mining and post-ironworks plots near the city centre, set to be unveiled this year.


Social transformation Elzbieta Zuzanska-Zysko, assistant professor at the University of Silesia, maintains that today’s Katowice has succeeded in becoming a “gate- way” city, since it impacts other cities in the region, withITcompanies taking root in nearby Gliwice and business service companies enter- ing Sosnowiec and Dabrowa Górnicza. However, the cityowes its transformation to


city officials and foreign businesses, not the government, Ms Zuzanska-Zysko stresses. She adds that both its technological back-


wardness and degraded natural environment repelled investors initially. But as a polycentric area, it attractedworkers from other cities in its region and became a beneficiary of the talent pool coming out of universities and higher edu- cation institutions in Upper Silesia. The con- struction of new regional roadways and public transportation networks were self-financed by the cities in the region.


February/March 2021 www.fDiIntelligence.com Maintainingmomentum


To keep this transformation moving forward, Ms Zuzanska-Zysko suggests that the city needs to improve public spaces and attract creative people to cultivate a metropolitan class. At the same time, Katowice as a nucleus city should work harder with its surrounding cities to con- solidate its position as a gateway city so it can compete globally in the 21st century. For Michał Burdzinski, the Silesian


Museum’s core business director, the cultural regeneration of the city,which has seen itmove froma “dark”, depressing industrial centre to a “new source of pride” for its citizens, finds itself upagainst a great deal of uncertainty, thanks to the pandemic. As far as finances are concerned, culture


and art museums always come last, he says. If money is there, then cultural institutions are able to develop and realise their desired aims, but with the present challenges, it remains unclear what funding museums will be able to rely on fromthe Ministry of Culture, or indeed whether domestic tourism will return. MrKulig,ontheotherhand,remainsoptimis-


tic for business. “I think that in the mid-term the world won’t change much. People will return to their lives as they lived before the pandemic,” he says. He concedes that there are new challenges but expects the e-commerce revolution will bring Katowice and the logistics sector in particular back as an attractive, emerging market, as it was in 2019.■


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