2016 Finalist

City Labs – how “Gazeta Wyborcza” changed Polish cities

Agora SA

Warsaw, Poland

Category Public Relations and Community Service

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

We all want to live in cities that develop, are comfortable, attractive, friendly and available to anyone. To make it possible, cities cannot be governed only by local authorities and politicians; scientists, social activists, and artists who are city residents should also have their say in the administration of their city. They should be aware that they have a real influence on what happens in their cities. In order to support civic participation in the process of city creation “Gazeta Wyborcza” came up with a social project called “Pracownia miast”- “City Labs”. It is a sort of a social innovation. So far in Poland there has not been a forum where different groups of people, having sometimes diverging interests, could meet and openly discuss solutions to the problems of their city. So far all decisions have been made by municipal authorities. “Pracownia miast” (which can be translated as “Workshop”, “Lab”) evokes not only creativity, creator and creation process but also the effect of that process. The objective of “Gazeta Wyborcza” was to make “Pracownia miast” meetings bring positive and tangible results in every city where meetings were held. We want our initiative to have a permanent effect on cities.
The objective of the project was namely to
1. support the process of enhancement of the quality of life in cities,
2. create a platform for dialogue that would help to converge different interests of residents and that would teach them how to cooperate,
3. Publicize the matter in local communities to stimulate them for action.
Start off
The starting point for the initiative included the research on the quality of life of residents conducted by “Gazeta Wyborcza” in 21 cities in 2013. The project is based on competences of our local journalists who know everything about the problems of their cities as they have described them for 25 years.

Results for this campaign

In 2014 the “Pracownia miast” initiative was launched in 6 Polish cities. In 2015 it secured its position on the market and became recognizable. In that year 12 two-day events were organized. Each events consisted of workshops and a conference.
The project was given much publicity in nationwide and local, printed and internet editions of “Gazeta Wyborcza” and social media.
12 events: quantitative data
33 workshops
over 100 real ideas provided to municipal authorities
23 discussion panels
over 2.5 thousand participants from different backgrounds
Most important issues discussed during events
spatial development and revitalization
city development strategy
environmental friendliness in cities
city's youth policy
Most spectacular changes initiated by “City Workshop”
Łódź: the president of the city created new posts for “local revitalization leaders”. Their role will consist in establishing direct contact with residents of neighborhoods to which they have been ascribed
Lublin: in response to the needs of the local labor market, a declaration on establishment of the intercollegiate IT institute and on including IT subjects in curricula of humanities studies was created
Bytom: activists from the Canadian foundation Jeur de la Terre, inspired by the article by “Pracownia miast”, decided to launch the project of building gardens around the old “Rozbark” mine which will revitalize this postindustrial area and give new jobs.
Poznań: the Municipal Office asked “Pracownia miast” to support its efforts in preparation of the city development strategy for the coming years
Warsaw: action supported the authorities in the process of standing as a candidate for the “European Green Capital Award” by providing new ideas
Setting a new standard
“Pracownia miast” created a platform for a dialogue for all residents who want to have a real influence on development of their city.
Position of an expert
Some cities used our initiative to support the process of planning the city development strategy for the coming years.
“Pracownia miast” was recognized and appreciated by Bronisław Komorowski, the President of Poland, who assumed honorary patronage.


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