A new paradigm for urban renewal in Eastern Europe

Photo of the REVIPOWER-Workshop in Warsaw

Traffic jams, air pollution and migration: These are consequences polish cities are facing as a result of 80 years of unsustainable development. Polish and German experts have now prepared recommendations as part of the REVIPOWER project for revitalising cities to improve the quality of life.


Factors such as rapid urbanisation, growth which exploits and harms the environment, and inefficient solutions in technology and architecture have caused a crisis in cities. This manifests itself in air pollution, excessive noise, inefficient use of water and unprecedented greenhouse gas emissions. A negative model of urban development has also negatively impacted Poland. After nearly 80 years of unsustainable development, Polish cities face enormous challenges such as traffic jams, air pollution and migration.

In response, experts formed a multidisciplinary task force called REVIPOWER and developed a concept for a model training. Two workshops were organised based on the REVIPOWER methodology in 2018 and 2019: one in cooperation with the city of Warsaw and one in cooperation with Wrocławska Rewitalizacja [Wrocław Revitalisation]. A total of 60 representatives from local governments and non-governmental organisations received training, including participants from the polish cities of Bydgoszczy, Ciechanowa, Sztumu, Ełku and Mielna. During the training, participants reflected on how to reduce the urban footprint and improve the quality of life in urban areas.

The cooperation, workshop discussions and identification of good practices from Poland and Germany formed the basis for developing comprehensive training materials on resource- and energy-efficient revitalisation of cities. 

In addition, a comprehensive visualisation of inspiring and effective measures to improve the quality of both built-up and natural areas within a city was developed. This visualisation was based on the outcome of the project work and the experience of the project partners (German Housing Initiative for Eastern Europe IWO e.V and the Association of Municipalities Polish Network „Energie Cités”), the adelphi experts and the coordinator of the REVIPOWER project. Furthermore, a checklist was drawn up for local governments. This checklist will allow local governments to verify the quality of the already existing revitalisation plans and supplement them by including policies, strategies and concrete measures to improve the environmental quality in cities. This, in turn, will improve the quality of life and health of their inhabitants.