The topic of this year’s edition are the spaces between blocks of flats. Blocks of flats and the block estates are inscribed in the landscape of Central Europe. Even though they originated as an idea for a „better future”, not only in this part of the continent but also in the West, they have become more of a synonym of failure rather than success. In Poland, the first estates were erected in the 50s, but the real boom arrived in the early 70s. During the communist times, 7 million flats in the ‚large-panel’ technology were built in our country. They were supposed to be widespread, functional and cheap. The estates abundant in services and new public utility buildings were to satisfy all of the residents’ needs. The scale of this type of constructions made it a separate phenomenon. At its peak, one third of Poles lived in the blocks. This is an unprecedented number in comparison to any Western country.
Unfortunately, years of neglect caused estate spaces to loose their capability for meeting the previously presumed needs. Many functions have been superseded by the need to find more and more space for cars – back in the 70s, when having a car was a luxury, no one expected that a family can have more than one vehicle. Throughout the years, green and recreational space of estates shrunk and became flooded with parking concrete. What remains is the open-access common space which has been neglected for years and is often dysfunctional and randomly utilised. In the light of this great revitalisation challenge and the fact that this type of construction is known and familiar to all of the countries participating in the project, we believe that this edition can become a starting point for a discussion on the quality of these spaces.