client: Municipality of Białystok, Poland

typology: sustainable urban development, water and energy strategies, landscape design

location:  Białystok

area, inhabitants: 138ha, 15 000

design: Urszula Cryer, Kaja Chrosczilewska

year, competition: 2015, WINNER EX-AEQUO

Creating an ecologically sustainable city is partly a mindful adaptation of the plan to the natural conditions of the design area, and in part building the city for all social groups, moving around by different modes of transportation. The essence of this project is the attempt to avoid a formal, uniform plan and introduce various forms of living and types of public spaces, tailored to the topography and characteristics of the area. We strongly believe that a good city considers economic, social and ecological factors equally, and the development of one of these elements does not cause problems in the next one.

Our ideal for Wygoda is the concept of connecting a dense city full of life with a green city full of light and fresh air, with access to green areas and open water, where it is easy to relax. Therefore, we decided to create a vision of a city in which one can live comfortably, equipped with facilities for education and care, shopping centre and workplaces in offices and workshops. The distances here are walkable and consequently the need for the use of a private car is reduced. It is a city in which green recreational areas are at one s doorstep and offer a diverse sports infrastructure, while providing ecosystem services such as rainwater filtration and retention, small scale food production and biodiversity formation and flow. In Wygoda, also the dirty grey water is harvested and treated within the new district in the constructed wetlands placed under the high voltage power lines crossing the area, so only part of the wastewater is discharged into the sewage system.

In a sustainable city buildings generate energy, use it efficiently and provide comfort of use with minimal maintenance costs, so buildings here are passive and PV roofs support the energy supply. It is a city for everyone, so it's important to diversify the type of development. Single and multifamily housing of private and social sector should be adjacent to one another, forming a stable society. Numerous public spaces stimulate social integration.

Last but not least, safety is also a very important element of the sustainable city. Most of the streets have been designed as shared spaces, where pedestrians, cyclists and cars move along one surface, while the speed is limited to 20 km/h. The introduction of front gardens from the street side should provide natural street monitoring, which increases the sense of security.