Urban Alternatives is launched by a collaboration of different actors which are united in their efforts to create a more democratic, just and sustainable world. This map seeks to highlight initiatives that work towards this goal. Proposal for initiatives not listed yet can be made directly on the website. This process is open to new collaborations.


Miasto Wspolne

Citizen Participation Mechanism

What challenges did this initiative look to address?

Miasto Wspólne originally formed in opposition to the planned Olympic Games in Krakow in 2004, which they successfully campaigned against.

Today, they work against re-privatization of housing in Krakow. After the Second World War large stocks of real estate in Krakow were taken over by the state, and their pre-war owners or their heirs were granted compensation under indemnification agreements. Miasto Wspólne claims that these properties should be partly or completely owned by the Treasury, and then by the Municipality of Kraków.

Poland is currently the only country in Central and Eastern Europe without a reprivatisation law. The years of neglect of politicians on various sides has led to a situation in which tens of thousands of tenants are victims of privatization and cities lose municipal housing stock which would strategically be important in order to guarantee stable rents and thus enable inclusive cities.

What has changed?

After successfully preventing the Olympic Games in Kraków, the group members took part in local elections, functioning as an umbrella organization for people coming from diverse urban movements and the Green Party. In January 2017 the group set up a new association called “Miasto Wspólne” (Common City) to continue work in Kraków and participate in the 2018 local elections. They also cooperate with Razem (Together), the Polish counterpart of Podemos.

As part of their work against housing re-privatization in Krakow, they run a rescue service for condominiums by providing free legal advice for tenants. Miasto Wspólne further monitors the implementation of the indemnification systems by the Ministry of Finance and the City of Krakow. They report to law enforcement authorities on cases of wild reprivatisation of Krakow tenement houses, flats and lands that should become the property of the Treasury. Furthermore, they prepare recommendations for public institutions that will improve the efficiency of implementing the indemnification systems.

How did it happen?

The fight against the planned Olympics united a broad range of Krakow residents. Soon after, Miasto Wspólne was founded as an association that brings together engaged citizens who share the vision of a friendly, democratic city and who oppose the mismanagement of local government authorities. Its members are actively involved in the work of non-governmental organizations, urban movements and civil dialogue commissions. Through their work they focus on local planning deficits – chaotic planning, dramatic air pollution, the deficit of places in kindergartens and nurseries and wild reprivatisation - by engaging in constructive opposition to the Krakow authorities. Miasto Wspólne envisions a co-created city that focuses on the needs of its residents rather than favouring nepotistic relationships or needs of business owners. They lobby for a pedestrian friendly city with efficient and affordable public transport, a city with a widely available cultural offer, good education for children and basic infrastructure (from kindergarten to public transport) in every district. Core to their work is the Krakow map of re-privatization. The re-privatization in Krakow consists of the transfer of private property with unresolved or nationalized legal status. The Krakow reprivatisation map shows what re-privatization is in practice. As part of the map, they describe the privatization business involving lawyers, notaries, businessmen, politicians and its effects on the larger public. The map was created on the basis of press material, information in the national court register and also from other public sources. They conclude that a reprivatisation law needs to be put in effect, excluding the return of tenements with tenants and the prosecutor's declaration of irregularities in the privatization process.