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Architecture students to design pocket parks in Hajnówka

a girl measuring the circumference of a tree
Students from the Faculty of Architecture at Bialystok University of Technology will design pocket parks in Hajnówka. This is an interesting new challenge for them, which they will undertake as part of their classes in the subject of landscape architecture and green areas, while for the Hajnówka Town Hall it is an indication of the tasks involved in implementing the ‘Hajnówka Renewal – Green Transformation’ project.

Pocket parks are small green enclaves that are now springing up in many cities around the world. They are an idea to alleviate the effects of overuse of concrete in a public space. This is because the excessive sealing of surfaces by concreting and asphalting them causes the natural circulation of water to be disrupted. The establishment of pocket parks not only improves the water balance, but also serves the aesthetics of cities, allows residents to relax among the greenery and can also influence the conservation of local animal and insect species.

The Hajnówka Town Hall, which is implementing the project ‘Hajnówka Renewal – Green Transformation’ thanks to the acquisition of Norwegian funds, envisages the creation of one or two pocket parks in the town. The staff and students of the Faculty of Architecture at Bialystok University of Technology were asked for ideas on how to put the towns’s greenery in order. Several locations in the town are involved. They are in different locations, some are on busy streets, others are next to schools and in the vicinity of multi-family residential buildings.

As it turns out, these types of practical tasks are of great value for enriching the teaching process. Students will be tasked with preparing a term paper: “Pocket parks for locations in Hajnówka”.

When arranging syllabuses for subjects that I coordinate, such as: landscape architecture and green areas; spatial development studies and plans; regional planning; urban planning inventory practice or thesis topics, I always try to take advantage of the current demand for architectural or urban planning projects in various locations in our region. I am keen to make use of representatives of municipal or township authorities who come forward – interestingly enough, these are often our graduates or former diploma students – and I also make use of contacts from my own long-standing architectural and urban planning practice, – says Assoc. Prof. Halina Łapińska, DSc, PhD, Eng, Arch., lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture of Bialystok University of Technology, who coordinates cooperation with the Hajnówka Town Hall on behalf of the faculty.

Under the guidance of Prof. Łapińska, a group of several dozen 5th semester architecture students arrived in Hajnówka on 15 October 2022. On site, the students met with staff from the Development Department of the Hajnówka Town Hall and the team implementing the project “Hajnówka Renewal – Green Transformation”. They also carried out a site visit and an inventory of seven selected parts of the town of Hajnówka for the purpose of developing a pocket park concept. The students received materials and situation and elevation maps on which they worked during their stay. They developed an urban and dendrological inventory of the indicated areas.

The next step will be to work on concepts for the development of the pocket parks together with greenery designs and plant species selection. The projects are expected to be ready by the end of February.

However, the cooperation between the Town Hall and Bialystok University of Technology related to the ‘Hajnówka Renewal – Green Transformation’ project involves many more undertakings. In addition to the already mentioned student projects for pocket parks, the ART TIME architectural competition will be decided in mid-November 2022. This is a competition between young architects, mainly students of the Faculty of Architecture of Bialystok University of Technology, for a concept to develop the area around the former railway station in Hajnówka. Further plans are to encourage students to take up topics related to spatial problems in Hajnówka in their engineering and master’s theses, such as designing a multi-faith chapel, a new centre of Hajnówka, a town hall or a guesthouse in the forest.


Read more about Hajnówka Reneval – Green Transformation.

by mr