Kraków sets an example of a city open to the world. This is reflected, in particular, in the millions of tourists who each year choose Kraków as their travel destination and relaxation venue. In this context it is also worth noting that nearly 175 000 students pursue their education at 23 Kraków-based higher-education establishments, and thousands of Polish residents come to Kraków in search of work and a decent place to live. At the same time, Kraków is increasingly often being seen as a venue for numerous prestigious conferences, congresses and cultural events. Kraków also fulfils the prestigious role of host city for meetings addressed to business players, members of local-government bodies and representatives of scientific circles.
The local academic and scientific centre is home to the Jagiellonian University, one of the world’s oldest universities. However, only a few people know that Kraków, with its impressive traditions and history, is where the SOLARIS National Synchrotron Radiation Centre built the first synchrotron in Poland. It is worth stressing that the Kraków-based AGH University of Science and Technology operates Prometheus – one of the most powerful supercomputers – while the SOLARIS is planning to open its doors to scientists from all over Europe this year, who will be given the opportunity to conduct their research projects in this historic city.
The launching of 140 traffic-supervision points, the purpose of which is to facilitate transport in the city, marked a pioneering solution on the national scale. “Obviously, we are unable to eliminate traffic jams straight away,” admits Jacek Majchrowski, Mayor of Kraków. “But giving priority to urban transport and pedestrians can serve as one of the means of combatting traffic congestion and air pollution”. What is considered of utmost importance is making the urban space friendly, open and generally accessible, rather than technifying life in the city. “The potential of ‘Krak’s town’ not only lies in its infrastructure, but mainly stems from the implemented investments,” as stressed by Mayor Majchrowski. These include Lamusownia – a modern renewable material collecting point, and its Thermal Waste Processing Plant which transforms waste into energy.
World-class facilities, such as the TAURON Arena Kraków, EXPO Kraków, the ICE Congress Centre, Cricoteka and the Małopolska Garden of Arts (Małopolski Ogród Sztuki), contribute to the one-of-the-kind atmosphere, coupled with diversified tourist and cultural opportunities. The last three facilities mentioned paved the way for the creation of a list of buildings changing cultural identify, compiled by Eric Baldwin, a journalist on Architizer.com. This clearly proves that Poland has commenced transforming its economy in recent years, with Kraków being especially successful in this field. “We wish to inspire talks and experience exchange,” says Jacek Majchrowski. Kraków seems the perfect place to conduct a pan-European debate on emerging problems and to search for viable solutions. The 3 rd European Congress of Local Governments creates an unparalleled chance to develop new ideas and to explore undiscovered paths. As proven by the previous editions, this event not only attracts representatives from various sectors, but also serves as the starting point for establishing cooperation models which serve the purposes of urban and regional development. “Therefore, if you search for new challenges in the modern world and are not afraid of setting ambitious targets, Kraków is where you should definitely be on 27–28 March 2017”, adds Mayor.
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