Archetype of city in the modern city space on the example of Cracow

Hubert Mełges, Małgorzata Mełges



Changes occurring in societies are directly reflected in architecture and urbanism. The course of civilisation as well as (among other things) positivist and neo-positivist currents of thoughts accompanied by technocratic trends and unlimited access to the mass media offered a wide sphere of information called info-sphere. The world was introduced to discoveries referring to all domains of science as a result of which mankind, particularly in cities, changed their way of life. As a consequence, types of needs and services as well as a scale of demand and consumption have been transformed. A style of the so called excessive ‘speed of life’ began to dominate. The development of communication (including cars) resulted in the fact that the cities with the existing technical infrastructure (inter alia, communication one) cannot deal with the phenomenon of the automotive congestion. New construction technologies along with increasingly newer material solutions change the existing aesthetic appeal of cities, their scale and atmosphere. We are witnessing a common race in the technological market and a desire to impress others with new ‘architectural and constructional creations’. Poland, after many historical experiences which took place mainly in the 20th century (two world wars, a period of after-war Socialist Poland and now a process of an accelerated transformation in the scope of reducing civilisation differences), found itself in a very particular place, i.e. between the east and the developed west (with regard to the economic base). The attempts of quickly reducing the consequences of the economic collapse and the resultant errors in architecture and spatial planning caused a situation in which many actions got out of control as regards planning, architectural and ecological aspects also in cities. Cities with historical origins with multi-century cultural layers constitute valuable examples of continuity of the urban and architectural thought. They are specific ‘banks’ of interdisciplinary knowledge, we can even say that they are ‘mainstays’ of architectural and spatial ideas of towns. Architecture precisely registers civilisation changes which directly reveal all the knowledge and level of their actual authors. These transformations are clearly understandable. Due to a lack of land development plans, many decisions with regard to building permits are totally disconnected from long term strategic decisions of urban visions. In order to normalise this situation, it is necessary to start a social discussion in circles of specialists in various interdisciplinary sciences so that all the undertaken solutions constituted responsible decisions.

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