‘Participation’ is one key to a city’s renewal says ULI speaker

Nowadays there are five key ingredients when trying to transform a city according to Katarzyna Gruszecka Spychała, Deputy Mayor, City of Gdynia.

Interviewed while attending the ULI Europe conference in Brussels where she was a speaker, she said the first requirement is evidence. “Without data you cannot make a proper diagnosis and you cannot evaluate the performance of that you are doing.”

Secondly, empathy is needed because everything that is done in a city needs a human dimension.

Third is engineering. “Nowadays you cannot do anything properly without technology but you need to remember that technology is a tool, not an aim itself.”

Then there needs to be engagement. “It’s about community,” Gruszecka Spychała said. She added that strong leadership is needed from the person who is in charge of a city to lead people in difficult circumstances.

Lastly, because no organisation whether public or private can achieve a difficult aim alone, a well-organized group is needed and the key word is “participation” she said

“You need to listen to the citizens. It doesn’t always mean that whatever a single citizen would like to have will be given to him or her, but it means that people feel they are important and you always have time to listen to them.”