Situated in the north-west of Poland, on the estuary of the river Odra, Szczecin is a junction for major European transit routes connecting the Northern and Southern Europe, through the Baltic Sea. Piotr Krzystek, Mayor of Szczecin, highlights the vision of becoming a city that functions on a level of complete environmental protection and awareness, pointing out the undertaken projects.
European Times: Please elaborate on some of the most attractive sectors that determine Szczecin’s economy.
Piotr Krzystek: Considering that the port of Szczecin and Swinoujscie, as a single port complex, is the second largest in Poland, handling 20 million tons of cargo annually, the city is undertaking numerous important projects to improve the accessibility of the port. These projects include increase of the depth of the port to 12.5 meters, improvement of the navigation of the river and development of the land infrastructure to access the port.
Szczecin’s most important sectors are the shipbuilding and the other related industries, focusing on the implementation of renewable energy projects, such as the development of steel foundations for wind farms. The third economic pillar is the tourism sector, considering that Szczecin is the sole city in Poland that has access to lake, river, lagoon and sea. In this context, the city is undertaking projects to transform a part of the coast, from industrial to urban, suitable for living. The city offers highly developed IT sector, strong chemical sector, and it is the Polish leader in maritime transport.
European Times: What does the project Floating Garden 2050 represents?
Piotr Krzystek: The Floating Garden 2050 is Szczecin’s visionary project, that responds to the current global challenges for environmental protection, offering environmental friendly solutions for public transportation, systems of water supply and sewage collection, waste management systems, including segregation, recovering and recycling, maximized usage of renewable energy, good education and quality of life.
In this context, Szczecin is the first city in the country, to introduce the benefits of hybrid and electric cars. In terms of the city’s vision, the Szczecin’s Philharmonic House building received the award for the most beautiful architectural facility in Europe. This project includes the establishment of Eco Ports, creation of Water factory, and changes in the educational system, focusing on teaching subjects for environmental awareness.
European Times: What are Szczecin’s future perspectives?
Piotr Krzystek: Szczecin is going to be among the medium sized European cities that face extremely rapid development. The city will meet the most advanced living conditions, including green and calm environment, where a person’s time is highly appreciated, excluding any heavy congestions. Although Szczecin covers only 1.7% of the Polish population, the creativity of the people is a significant asset, which will be further developed.