The City of Katowice
Transformation of the City
City of events
Katowice is not only a home to approx. 300,000 inhabitants, but also the heart of Metropolis GZM (Górnośląsko-Zagłębiowska Metropolia) comprising 41 cities and communes, inhabited by over 2 million people. The metropolitan area created in July 2017, is a sign of joint commitment and care for region's prosperity, which gives a real opportunity for accelerated, dynamic development.
The city, which has always been associated with mining and heavy industry, is today the heart of the region that aspires to be a leader in innovation and new technologies. Katowice has transfigured itself into a thriving economic centre, a friendly place to invest and live. IBM, Unilever, Fujitsu, Rockwell Automation are just some of the global brands that create jobs here. It is not without a reason that Katowice is a perfectly connected city, near which the A1 and A4 motorways intersect, enabling comfortable travel in all directions within Europe. Major cities of the Metropolitan Area are connected by the city thoroughfare traversing the centre of Katowice, and the dense network of railway lines makes it possible to comfortably reach Prague, Vienna, Budapest anMetd Berlin in just a few hours. Katowice international Airport is one of the largest and most dynamically developing airports in Poland. Within a radius of 100 km there are two other international airports in Kraków and Ostrava.
Metropolis GZM is an unlimited human, intellectual and infrastructural potential. It is Poland's centre of the automotive industry, which for a long time has contributed to the GDP more than that the mining traditionally associated with the region. It is a region with a huge economic zone and many sub-zones. It is an organism that reduces developmental barriers, where the richest cities consistently work also for the development of smaller cities. Finally, it is a significant and constantly improving quality of life for the residents and the pride in being a part of Metropolis GZM.
Transformation of the city
The revitalisation of the post-mining areas allowed for the creation of the Culture Zone - a space which is unique in entire Poland. The new buildings of the Silesian Museum, the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the International Congress Centre, accompanied by the iconic "Spodek" build the prestige of the city, attracting to the city centre both the residents of the region and tourists.
In recent years Katowice has undergone a huge transformation. Not so long ago, the city stereotyped by many as a symbol of Silesia: the place of heavy industry, coal and steel. The road that Katowice has travelled, becoming the modern capital of a metropolitan area with 2 million inhabitants, is also an example of the transformation that has taken place throughout Poland.
For years, the landmark welcoming the visitors to the capital of Silesia, was the coal mine winding tower. And it is still so today. However, the "Warszawa II" tower, visible from afar, has completely different functions. The tower's second life is an observation deck with a view on the colourful and modern Katowice. Its transformation was an element of revitalisation of the former mine area. The Culture Zone, a unique place not only in Poland, but in the entire Europe, was established in this area. The delightful buildings of the National Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio, the Silesian Museum and the International Congress Centre were built here. The Zone is complemented by Spodek, i.e. a sports and entertainment hall referring to the shape of a spacecraft, and modern office buildings: an eye-catching structure of .KTW and the nearby Altus, the tallest building in the Silesian Voivodeship.
It is the Culture Zone that has become the new symbol of Katowice. The city where an extraordinary metamorphosis took place in almost all fields. There wouldn't have been without the transformation of the residents of Katowice, who fell in love with their city and became its ambassadors. This revival began for good a few years ago during the European Capital of Culture campaign. And it continues. The proud inhabitants of their small homeland are the greatest asset of Katowice. Their involvement activates changes in the capital of the Silesian Voivodeship, one of the best developing cities in Poland.
City of events
Katowice used to be the leader in the amount of coal mined in its coal mines, but today it shines in rankings of exceptional cultural and business events. A wide range of hotel facilities, state-of-the-art conference halls and the perfect access by various means of transport are a magnet attracting the organizers, who find the centre of the agglomeration to provide the best venue.
The festivals and cyclical events organised in Katowice include also supra-regional and international projects. Music lovers, theatre fans and enthusiasts of unusual experiences every year visit the capital of the agglomeration to learn about current trends, listen to world stars and feel the unique atmosphere. The Silesian Jazz Festival, the Rawa Blues Festival, the Off Festival or the Tauron Nowa Muzyka have become a permanent fixture in the calendar of important music events, and the A PART International Theatre Festival, the International Summer Theatre Garden and the Festival of Directing Art are significant events in the theatre community.
However, cultural events are only a fraction of all the events that take place in Katowice - the prestige and popularity of events focusing on business and innovation is growing year by year. Suffice it to mention the European Economic Congress that is biggest business event of Central Europe, or European Congress of Small and Medium Size Enterprises, assembling representatives of the most important sector of the Poland's economy.
These events would not be possible without the transformation of the city and the entire region. Thanks to a well-managed development strategy, it was possible to build a unique base in which the leader is the Culture Zone located in the centre of the city. The International Congress Centre, the new headquarters of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the new Silesian Museum are adjacent to the iconic Spodek, becoming a well-known symbol of the revitalised part of Katowice. All those buildings are architectural gems, winners of many prizes for their unique design, and at the same time with varied and attractive offering available to all residents of the agglomeration. The whole will be complemented by the towering office buildings .KTW, in which the world's leading companies will have their offices, more and more often locating their sites in Katowice.
Such a wide range of events is complemented by hotel facilities, offering guests places of various standards - from five-star suites to hostel rooms suitable for students' budgets. It is very easy to reach them - an extensive network of road connecting the entire region, a modern railway station ensuring the comfort of travel through the PKP (Polish State Railways) or the proximity of the International Airport in Pyrzowice make Katowice an ideal place for organising all kinds of meetings.
The greatness of Katowice was built on coal. The city became the capital of a metropolitan area where mining monoculture dominated all areas of life: from industry to sports and culture. This was the case for many years until the time of transformation, forced by a change in global economic conditions and the depletion of coal reserves in the region.
Katowice has made a change and today they are a leader in innovation and new technologies. It is also at the forefront of Polish cities that have decided to develop modern business sectors. One of these sectors is the development of the regional office space market in Katowice. Just building office space alone would not suffice. It must be supported by the modern office services industry that had to established and is developing.
One of its elements is access to employees. Every year about 25,000 people who enter the labour market graduate from Katowice's universities. They know languages and complete fields of study which are taught in a progressive manner. Are excellent candidates for employees of companies that have decided to set up their offices or headquarters. The human potential of Katowice is complemented by excellent technical facilities. As a result, global giants such as Mentor Graphics, Rockwell Automation, Hewlett Packard, Ernst & Young, Deloite, Capgemini and IBM opened branches in the city.
The consistent policy of Katowice with regard to the development of modern office services contributed to a strong and growing property development market. Modern office buildings were built in the city, including the complex at Konduktorska Street, "Tiramisu" at DTŚ, a4 Business Park, the first KTW tower. However, new buildings are not the only place where office services develop. They also enter the post-industrial landscape and use old factory buildings, giving them new life. This is the case in the Porcelain Factory at Porcelanowa Street, which was revitalised by the Giesche Foundation. In addition to the museum part, a technology park was built there, where about 40 companies operate. These are IT companies, media and creative agencies, art galleries, showrooms, concept stores, as well as dental offices and aesthetic medicine clinics.
The construction of the International Congress Centre (ICC) in the Culture Zone complemented the city's projects, which put Katowice in the position of one of the leaders of the cities developing office services. Together with the iconic Spodek, it is a conference and exhibition complex that stands out in Europe. From May 2015 to April 2016, more than 200 different types of trade fairs, conferences, congresses, festivals and meetings on the local, national and international levels took place there. In the ICC hosted the conference of the Association of Business Service Leaders in Poland (ABSL). The organisation brings together 180 global investors. The special guest of the meeting was Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State in the administration of George W. Bush.
One can say that the economic transformation in Katowice has already taken place. The city has a new, completely different face than that of twenty years ago. Katowice has become a serious player on the market of modern office services.
The Upper Silesian urban area, whose capital city is Katowice, consists of 41 cities with a population of 2.5 million. Residents commute daily to work, to school, often crossing borders different cities. Thanks to an extensive road and railway network, a journey to cities located up to 50 km apart does not take longer than 30-40 minutes. Katowice is the central hub in this transport system. They are among the best-connected cities in Poland.
Over the last dozen or so years, Katowice has undergone a radical transformation. Today it is one of the fastest growing Polish cities. A city dominated by the heavy industry was transformed into a metropolis of modern technologies. These changes have led to a number of transformations and modifications to public transport solutions to optimise traffic volume, travel time and costs, as well as to protect the environment.
Thanks to a well-developed transport network, travelling both inside and outside the city or the agglomeration, is not a problem. The A1 and A4 motorways intersecting nearby allow access from the south to the north and from the east to the west of Poland. The city thoroughfare traversing the centre of Katowice connects the major cities of the Upper Silesian urban area. There is also the well-developed railway system. A journey to European capitals (Prague, Berlin, Budapest, Vienna) takes just a few hours. Katowice also boasts Poland's most modern trunk railway line connecting the city with Warsaw and enabling travelling at a speed of over 200 km/h.
About 30 kilometres north of the centre of Katowice, in Pyrzowice, Katowice International Airport is located. It is the fourth airport in Poland in terms of the number of passengers and air operations. Within a radius of 100 km there are two other international airports - Kraków (John Paul II International Airport Kraków-Balice) and Ostrava (Leoš Janáček Ostrava Airport).
Every year Katowice becomes more bicycle friendly. Further bicycle paths are built and the 30 kph zone is expanded. The city also organises a number of events and campaigns to promote cycling and convince the public that the bicycle can be the main means of transport within the city.
The priority of the city has become sustainable transport, where pedestrians, cyclists, drivers as well as public transport users are equally important.