Ханна Здановская & Анастасия Холдаковская
10:11, 29 November 2018

The Odessa journalists could communicate to the president of the city of Lodz Hanna Zdanovskaya.

During recent press tour to Poland, at the press conference Hanna told about how it brings the hometown to a new level of development after the serious crisis which happened in Lodz in 2008. 

In what condition was the city while you headed it?

– I was in rather difficult situation for some moments. Once, it was the monoproductive city (production of the type of the goods in the industry – an editor's note) based on the textile industry. However, it was forgotten because of the crisis that made the development of infrastructure and the industry weak and delayed. Of course, this period of reorganization and changes affected in a very negative way, not only in a political field, but also in an economic way. 

How was the situation with unemployment then?

– An unemployment rate was 35% in the region when I headed it. It is the highest rate which existed at that time. It also pushed the city to independence. Then it began to work slowly in one direction. Now, the city became more modern: it is full of technologies, design and ideas in the production field.

How was an unemployment rate regulated in the city for the last few years? 

– When the Polish economy actively developed and was the highest point of economic development, the minimum level of unemployment in the country was about 8,2-8,3%. And it grew up to 13,5-14% after the global economic crisis of 2008. Now, taking in consideration the restoration and improvement of an economic situation, an unemployment rate promptly decreases. It remains at the level of 9,5% at the moment Since the moment when there was a reform it became much simpler to resolve municipal issues: communications, elevators, roofs. All these things disturb people that living in this city most of all.

– Lodz In Poland is an example of the citiy connected with revitalization (restoration of the urban environment at which it becomes more suitable for accommodation – an editor's note). In our city there is a huge number of monuments of architecture among which there are the houses that were constructed in the period of the end 19 – beginning of the 20th century. City authorities always allocate the necessary sum for restoration for these houses. Thanks to the fact that we are a part of the European Union we can submit applications for receiving grants for participation in any projects. The active process of restoration started thanks to the funds allocated by the European Union. It began in Lodz during the last 5–6 years.

What is the subject of pride among the residents of the city and what Lodz is famous for in Poland and in Europe?

– The residents had no pride for the city before. Now it began to revive thanks to the changes which happened during the last few years. The state made the decision about the national program of revitalization on which will be a part of the European budget thanks to Lodz. 25 billion of zloties were used for revitalization of the abandoned places within the program, in particular, the industrial real estate will be painted.  

How actively do people participate in adoption of important solutions for rather future city?

– Lodz is a civil city. I decided to give a part of the power to it or to be exact, to give a part of the budget to the hands of citizens thatreally know how to use them and to social activists that already decide what certain projects will be materialized. I can tell with a sincere heart that because of these changes which happen now and will pass further, citizens are proud that they are residents of the city of Lodz, the city in which there is a wish to live and work. And you will see how the city will change if you arrive in 5–6 years.

What are the plans for development of the city in the near future? 

– I consider that we already made a big step forward. There are a lot of purposes and plans for us for the near future. We hope to receive about 4-5 billion zloties for the next 5 years for inventory and also, on construction of the underground station with tunnels and I hope that connection of these tunnels in all the city will be the continuation of this investment. 
It is possible to see on the example of the city of Lodz how it’s easy to reconstruct the abandoned factories and buildings that could be rebuild into new modern, completely equipped museums, cafe, hotels and restaurants. This experience would be also useful for our country, as much as possible.

Author: Anastasia Holdakovskaya
Translator: Annette Fleur de Lis