Białystok – city with climate
The capital of Podlaskie Province awarded in the competition "City with climate - the best implemented project".
In the competition organized by the Ministry of Climate, the city of Białystok was awarded first prize. The results were announced in the fall of 2020. The jury honoured Białystok for the revitalization of the Marczukowskie Ponds and the development of city cycling.
Białystok with its ecological investments fits into the conception of clean and green Podlaskie Province. A city fuelled by nature is not only a slogan describing the exhibition about this region presented at EXPO 2020 in Dubai, but it is also the conception for the whole region and its capital, which has more and more revitalised green spaces and new bicycle lanes. Green investments are the future of both the city and the entire province.
The competition was addressed to cities who had completed in the preceding three years their investments with positive effects on city nature and well-being of its residents. There were selected ten winners: 5 awards in the category of cities with population over 100,000 inhabitants and 5 – in the category of cities with population under 100,000. The jury appraised investments implemented by local governments in the following areas:
- development of blue-green infrastructure and water retention,
- sustainable transport,
- circular economy,
- sustainable construction.
The city of Białystok was awarded the first prize for revitalization of the Marczukowskie Ponds as well as the development of city cycling. Second and third awards were won by the city of Gdynia and the city of Płock, respectively. The cities of Kraków, Gdańsk and Olsztyn were awarded special recognitions.
New site for recreation
The Marczukowskie Ponds were revitalized in early 2017. Thanks to the investment, which had been implemented for several years, the residents of Białystok gained a new rest and recreation site. The surrounding areas have been protected from flooding, and the Ponds, neglected for many years, have become efficiently functioning retention reservoirs. The planted shrubs and trees combined with a large area covered by water positively affect air quality. Furthermore, the investment has supported biodiversity, as now, there occur more species of insects and other animals.
Development of cycling
Białystok has for years popularized bicycles as an everyday means of transport. There is recognized a need to connect the pedestrian and bicycle systems with the existing net of urban and suburban greenery. Therefore, the city has been gradually realising a plan to develop an integrated network of bicycle lanes.
During the period covered by the competition (2017-2020), more than 20 km of bicycle lanes were established in Białystok, so in total, there are now more than 150 km of these. To encourage residents to give up private cars and use public transport means and bicycles, several incentives have been proposed by the city, including:
- free transport of bicycles on buses,
- zones with limited accessibility for motorised traffic,
- traffic-free zones,
- bicycle parking and shelters in public spaces,
- access to city bikes (BiKeR, launched in 2014).
The activities undertaken foster the improvement of safety and quality of life of residents, as well as enhance air quality in the city.