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Alberto Proserpio
Simposium at Krakow Architecture Biennale  18.07.20
Shaping Water
In the history, cities have been always involved in a dual relationship with water.
From the one side, rivers (as well as oceans and lakes) represent a key driver for cities’ economies and their overall development.
On the other hand, water represent a threat because of its unpredictable and inconstant behaviour.
Furthermore, water creates communication. Which means synergies in between distant settlements but also a fast track for eventual enemies.
Effectiveness of the equilibrium between cities and water usually determined the richness of urban settlements.

Looking at Krakow from a bird perspective, the two faces of the medal are visible in once.
Rynek and whole historical city is not so close to Wisła river, even if it can easily reach it.
Contrariwise, what is predominant on the Wisła bank is Wawel Castle. This is not only a land mark through the Wisła way but clearly shows how to approach water dualism: it is a fortress, well protected from enemies, thanks to its architecture, and from floods which will never reach its height.

In a world which moves on rails, streets and net cables, rivers are losing their initial meanings and now they are hardly perceived as resource.

Because each connections need a deep understanding of the parties involved, the real challenge for Krakow is to define a renewed value to Wisła and its water’s system.
In fact, before designing a strategy to connect the city and its river, it is important to clarify the role of rivers in nowadays urban life.

Water meanings | Water values | Water connection | Water dualisms