The Living Factory
The Living Factory – new city centre of Dąbrowa Górnicza is one of the most significant development projects for: Dąbrowa Górnicza, region of Zagłębie Dąbrowskie and eastern part of Górnośląsko-Zagłębiowska Metropolis (GZM Metropolis is the first metropolitan union in Poland). Since 2016, the project has been under comprehensive implementation, integrating spatial, construction, infrastructural and social processes (see Model Urban Revitalisation in Dąbrowa Górnicza).
Our goal is to get degraded areas out of crisis (the area of the former Defum machine tool factory located in the city centre of Dąbrowa Górnicza, in the vicinity of the traffic hub) and give them new city-forming and city centre-forming functions.
We aim at changing the profile of Dąbrowa Górnicza – from industrial city to a place of high life quality, a centre for workplaces in innovative sectors, introduction of environmentally friendly solutions, cultural development and support for local identity.
New city centre of Dąbrowa Górnicza (covering both the area of the Living Factory and the area of the Wolności Square in front of the Zagłębie Culture Palace, which is to become the so-called Salon of Zagłębie Dąbrowskie – after numerous public consultations, as well as research of expert groups related to urban planning and architecture, entrepreneurship and sustainable development – was based on the resources of the local community.
In the area covered by the project, it is planned to develop the concept of an active city, engaging residents in public initiatives. Based on economic analysis and a detailed urban and architectural concept, the implementation of the investment will bring about 2 000 new workplaces.
It will be the place for running local service businesses for residents. Public spaces were designed adequately to human scale and needs by: banning road traffic in the area of the Living Factory and introducing a calm traffic zone in its neighbourhood, the dominant role of urban greenery, small architecture, an extensive range of restaurants as well as wide cultural, entertainment and business development offer.
New city centre of Dąbrowa Górnicza
The Living Factory – new city centre of Dąbrowa Górnicza – is being established in the heart of the Zagłębie Dąbrowskie region, which is a part of the first metropolis in Poland, an exceptionally attractive place to live and make investments.
- We are close to major city centres in this part of Europe such as: Prague, Wien, Budapest, Bratislava, Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Częstochowa or Ostrava.
- There is only a few-minute bicycle ride from the so called Pojezierze Dąbrowskie (4 lakes).
- And only a 20-minute train trip from the centre of Katowice.
- There are 21 million people living within 200 km of the Factory.
- There are 28 higher education schools.
- We are a part of an exceptional cultural and sports offer and a dynamically developing labour market of the largest metropolitan area in Poland.
With the residents and for the residents
For more than three years, the Dąbrowa Górnicza residents, supported by a group of experts, were creating a place on the premises of the former Defum factory, which will be the new city centre and a landmark of Dąbrowa Górnicza. In Poland, we are a unique example of transformation of post-industrial area, because the Living Factory involves:
- forming a main urban space with a new green marketplace inside former factory halls,
- “city in the city” with clear references to the history of Zagłębie Dąbrowskie and a layout of Dąbrowa Górnicza districts
- pedestrian-friendly area, barrier-free for senior citizens and people with disabilities, easily accessible for cyclists,
- structured urban greenery, reflecting natural environment,
- multifunctionality of facilities and public spaces.
The Living Factory was designed to be a place of meetings, leisure, regional education, where you can see a movie, watch an exhibition, drink good coffee and eat some good food. It will be a place with rich offer of cultural events, social and environmental activities.
Building the new centre of Dąbrowa Górnicza based on the second pillar of the project – The Factory. Of Culture and Art – attracts young and talented people to The Factory. In 2023 alone, nearly 160 different events took place on the grounds of The Living Factory: social, musical, cultural, recreational and sporting. The Factory’s attractions were used by nearly 130 000 people for four years.
The Living Factory is:
17 green roof terraces
restaurants, coffeehouses, bars
office and service buildings
green city courts
multimedia conference, fair and exhibition hall
city bike rental
electric bike rental
car charging stations
bike parking spaces
historical theme routes
full accessibility for people with disabilities
water green areas, vertical gardens
Description of individual buildings and their intended use
The new city centre of Dąbrowa Górnicza has been designed as a “city in the city”: modern, friendly and multifunctional meeting, working and living space. The main idea of the project is the diversity of urban developments, which triggers intensive use at any time of a day or year.
Some of the industrial halls will be demolished, and the most valuable ones will be renovated, rebuilt and adapted to new service and retail functions. The existing buildings will be supplemented with newly designed buildings of service and residential functions with commercial space located on the ground floors of the buildings.
The Factory. For Climate.
Special features of the new city centre of Dąbrowa Górnicza will include: energy efficiency (construction of buildings and public spaces using energy-saving materials and renewable energy sources – photovoltaic panels, heat pumps), economy and respect for resources, reasonable and economical water management and waste reusing.
- plants as an integral part of the urban development,
- plant compositions referring to species naturally present in the area of the Zagłębie – common hornbeam, hawthorn,
- the use of bird, insect and small mammal friendly plants – wildflower meadows, fruit trees and bushes,
- plants “inscribed” in architectural objects, such as the green tunnel of overhead crane space,
- selection of species as an illustration of Dąbrowa Górnicza water reservoirs, the Błędowska Desert and the landscape of Srocza Góra,
- place for trees being the symbols of Dąbrowa Górnicza: pedunculate oaks,
- use of the so called green retention roofs on 17 facilities.
In the area of the Living Factory, greenery will have also the following functions:
- representative, accompanying the urban layout, in the form of green zones- linear compositions that define the course of traffic routes and the location of buildings,
- insulating and protecting, due to using the species of deciduous trees and shrubs as well as climbers, which reduce noise and air pollution.
The Factory. 3.0
The Living Factory employed the concept of the so-called sponge city, meaning that green gardens and a system for collecting and reusing rainwater were planned on all roofs of the new buildings. Bike rentals, also for electric bikes and their charging stations, photovoltaic panels, heat pumps were located in the “city in the city”. Car charging stations were planned on all parking lots.
The implementation of the project will result in a permanent transformation of Dąbrowa Górnicza – from a city associated with coal mining, dominated (in the functional, urban and social context) by industrial factories – into a city with strong service facilities, a place of high quality of life, attractive urban complex.
The development of active city, engaging residents in public initiatives was planned in the project area. Additionally, the Living Factory will be a place where creative industry sectors are blooming, where talent and technology are brought together.
The Factory. Of Culture and Art
The construction of a new cultural space in the Factory’s industrial premises will be an excellent field for various activities, interactions and investments – the planned activities cover the whole spectrum of subjects such as ecology, transport, business support, cultural development or civil society development.
Here, the co-operation will play a key role, encouraging the residents, non-governmental organisations, artists, activists, cultural institutions and local entrepreneurs to be the co-creators of events and activities. So that all of them together could make this area a place vibrant with life, culture and locality. This will allow to create an interesting platform for exchanging ideas, knowledge and skills between the creators and audience. Artistic and cultural projects such as concerts, theatre performances, workshops, seminars and conferences are extremely important for every community.
It will also be the place for running local service businesses for residents (the offer of “vanishing professions”). Public spaces and semi-public/ shared spaces were designed adequately to human scale and needs by: banning road traffic and introducing a calm traffic zone in the neighbourhood, the dominant role of urban greenery, small architecture, an extensive range of restaurants as well as wide cultural, entertainment and business development offer.
The Factory. Full of History
In the former DEFUM machine tool factory, in the very centre of Dąbrowa Górnicza, we are creating a unique space that combines industrial traditions of the region with contemporary expectations of exceptional tenants and demanding customers. We do this with respect for historical heritage. We save valuable architectural and structural elements. Elements that needed to be dismantled due to its poor condition will gain new life after the revitalisation.
The special features of the new Dąbrowa Górnicza city centre will include:
- references to Zagłębie-related identity of place,
- halls named after the districts of Dąbrowa Górnicza, e. g. Ząbkowicka, Łosieńska, Tworzeń,
- streets, squares and courts named after former owners of Defum factory: Emil Škoda, Zieleniewski Brothers, Wilhelm Fitzner and Konrad Gamper,
- boards illustrating the history and original use of revitalised facilities in front of the halls’ entries,
- information boards about the districts of Dąbrowa Górnicza,
- historical city map embedded in the flooring,
- mock-up of the Living Factory and Defum factory,
- – open-air display cases,
- historic objects reminding coal mining background of Zagłębie Dąbrowskie: mining hoisting wheels, underground railway from KWK Kazimierz Juliusz mine in Sosnowiec.