KATOobywatel (resident)
City/Region : Katowice/City Hall , Poland

KATOobywatel (resident) project comes from the residents’ needs for a clean, green, aesthetic and climate resilient city. But the most important, in our opinion, was agency - having a direct and tangible influence on shared space. Meantime, we focused on building a civic society which takes responsibility for its surroundings and then starting a reliable dialogue with it. To this end we have been using apps, actions and campaigns which have been carried out since 2018 and they are all based on social engagement.  We believe that only close cooperation and mutual trust can result in good and long-term outcomes.

EU Green Deal Policy Areas Addressed
Sustainable mobilityBiodiversitySustainable agriculture
Eliminating pollutionClean energyPublic space
From Farm to Fork
Pathways followed
  • Ensure equal access to municipal services
  • Involve citizens through participatory implementation
  • Encourage local private and civic engagement
  • Promote social innovation supporting inclusion
  • Nurture a sharing economy
  • Capitalise on local economy and production
  • Create and close local value chains
  • Apply innovative financing approaches
  • Pursue a shift towards a circular economy
  • Wisely select and apply smart technologies
  • Accelerate sustainability and innovation through public procurement
  • Guarantee equal access to information & digital services
  • Ensure new policies take socio-cultural changes resulting from innovative technologies into account
The first parklet in Katowice and electric box painted by the artist.

KATO – this is how residents call Katowice. KATO is a postindustrial city, the capital of Upper Silesian Metropolitan Area, which has undergone a tremendous change in recent years and its residents are its best ambassadors. Thanks to their contribution we have become a serious contender for the title of the European Capital of Culture 2016 and then we received the title of UNESCO City of Music. After years of big investments in local landmarks we have focused on the districts, also the most neglected ones. The project develops in line with expectations and responds to changing interests and needs as well as to global challenges such as climate change. Katowice used to be assocoated with mining, metallurgical and heavy industry. Today the city aspires to be a leader in eco-innovation, new technologies and activities improving the quality of the  environment.

In Action
During the district cleaning campaign, we teach how to segregate waste and reduce its generation.

We have chosen the most intuitive and attractive tools which make it one-of-a-kind. Thanks to <Let'> app residents can report defects whereas wCOP drzewo <tree> app enables residents to point the place where new trees should be planted. They can indicate how to solve the problem, follow up and comment on their issues.
They also help in planting and taking care of trees.

Together we sow meadows and clean neighborhoods chosen in open voting. Apart from sowing meadows, residents participated also in workshops on building houses for wild pollinators or making seed bombs, which is a great way to spread greenery to fallow fields. During the district cleaning campaign, we teach how to segregate waste and reduce its generation. Participants drink tap water from their own cups. There is also always a socializing event like a barbecue, where we use reusable dishes

We encouraged residents to adopt neglected planters and sow flower meadows in them by giving away seeds and compost produced from the municipal biowaste. We provided also recycled planters along with soil and plants to be looked after by residents.

To change residents' habits and reduce plastic consumption, we have campaigned for drinking tap water. To catch residents' attention and convince them to drinking tap water we used in our campaign a vintage soda syphon, a device which used to be very popular in Poland. We also encouraged restaurants and cafes to serve their guests free tap water.

In response to the residents' needs we have created the first parklet, a place to rest among greenery, on three parking places 

We use streetart to fight vandals while an artist takes care of devastated power distribution boxes. Pseudo-graffiti is one of the most frequently reported problems on the (Let’ platform. The artist has covered 10 power distribution boxes with paintings referring to  Katowice's architecture.  

We combine joint initiatives with workshops on e.g. importance of meadows on the urban ecosystem or zero waste idea. Our ‘residents’ are also NGOs and other stakeholders. These are NGOs which created both apps and co-organise actions. We have asked cafes and restaurants to join our campaign for tap water. To create a parklet we engaged residents and students of Silesian University, theatre and musical schools. Graffiti on power distribution boxes were prepared by a graduate of Katowice Fine Arts School, in partnership with a large energy company TAURON.


•	We have done a lot to improve the image of tap water (60% of Poles do not trust it).

Residents got new tools to influence their surroundings, they record results of our cooperation and even compete.

  • We have planted 600 trees with that app and we'll plant another 300 soon.
  • We have repaired 11 000 defects reported with the app in infrastructure, safety and greenery, mainly in degraded districts where residents are the most active.
  • In order to reduce the impact of climate change, we sowed 20 000 m2 of meadows and reduced lawn-mowing on 50 000 m2 selected by local communities.
  • Residents, private companies and institutions adopted over 60 planters in the city by sowing meadows and planting plants.
  • Only in 2019, with the engagement and help of several hundred residents, we cleaned 30 ha and collected 15 containers of rubbish
  • By transforming a parking space into a parklet we have created a new place for people to meet, play and even hold cultural events. The idea of reclaiming parking spaces and turning them into people spaces can also serve as a trigger for discussions about the importance of sustainable transport. 
  • We have done a lot to improve the image of tap water (60% of Poles do not trust it). Many cafes, restaurants as well as private companies and hotels have joined our initiative. The City Hall of Katowice gave up bottled water and replaced it with tap water. The campaign has been awarded  for its creativity and educational character.
  • The KATOresident project has been awarded with a distinction by the Polish Press Agency in a competition entitled “Innovative Local Government.”

Our actions are transparent while outcomes can be verified and commented. The development of innovations stimulated and facilitated organizational changes in the City Hall of Katowice as well as in its subordinated units. Direct communication with residents without bureaucracy.

We created two teams to supervise those apps, they also contact residents when the situation needs clarification. Work of public services became clearer and less anynomous. We account for repairs and planted trees, cleaned green areas and sown meadows. We gained ambassadors for this project from among the residents and honoured the most active ones with the title of “KATOresident of the year” e.g. a senior – university lecturer, a journalist and a camera operator. Measurable results prove that the effects should be regarded as our – the local authorities and residents – success.

The project aim is to motivate people to take action. They start to be called KATO residents. As a result, residents undertake various initiatives on their own. They take care of planted trees and plants. They organize neighborhood clean-up actions or set up activist groups with the use of the tools available in the city, such as NaprawiaMy Kosztukę - Let’sFixIt Koszutka (Katowice district)

Issues related to innovative actions are very popular with the media. Thanks to this we can reach a large group of people with our message and education.

Challenges and lessons learned
Thanks to and wCOP drzewo apps  we angage residents in taking care of the city.

The biggest challenge was to gain residents' trust. It was necessary to introduce long-term actions with measurable effects. The actions also had to be communicated widely. The ready-made tools that we applied locally turned out to be a success. It is crucial to have support teams. From the very beginning we have put trust in the experience and knowledge of NGOs and they still support us. The project has its own website and Facebook profile so it is easy to find more information and contact details. There is also a coordinator who links and supervises all activities, cooperations and  stakeholders.




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