1-2(9-10)/2001, p. 79

Bogusław Wowrzeczka
Directions of industrial plants’ conversion in the age of industrial restructuring

    The phenomenon of the downfall and abandonment of industrial plants is inscribed into the typical cycles of functioning of the plants. Against this background there appears the complex problem of converting abandoned objects and industrial terrains. Economy system changes in the country, in the last 10 years, have caused the fact that these processes appear on a mass scale due to striving of the country’s economy for adjustment to the standards of the European Union. Experiences of the Western countries in the realization of conversion programmes of the industrial terrains may be helpful in forming of the conversion strategy in the country. This concerns both the adaptation of those programmes which, from the perspective of time, manifested success as well as elimination of those programme assumptions which have proved ineffective.
    A mutual element of all industrial conversion programmes is their reference to the strategy of balanced development accepted by the European countries. On a regional scale, the model of converting industrial areas into landscape parks is being realized, as also the organization of the so-called industrial tourism.
    The protection of industrial inheritance is being realized in the converted areas through the creation of ecomuseums and industrial landscape parks.
    Town renovation programmes take into consideration, in a different degree, requirements bound with the protection of industrial heritage. Most town conversion programmes assumed the recovery of industrial terrains for other functions (habitation, services, greenery and recreation, production causing no inconvenience), leaving for repeated use only the most valuable objects. In the strategy of reviving the space of cultural heritage, the adaptation of old industrial structures presents an element of promotion of the revitalized area and its aim is the initiation and support of the conversion process. The basic decision assumption of the choice  of  industrial terrains’ and industrial objects’ new use is their integration with the existing urban tissue, in the programme and space sense. 
    Contemporary adaptations of industrial objects show how wide is the range of possible ways of their use and possible intervention into their material structure: from full conservation to full conversion.
    Recapitulating contemporary trends in the approach to conversions of the industrial terrains and industrial plants it is necessary to note that they take into consideration, in constantly widening manner, the postulate of industrial heritage protection, linking it with commercial use. In urbanistic strategies the aspiration to create integrated strategies may be observed, taking into consideration all the principles of balanced development: limitation of negative influence on the environment, use of the existing material resources and conformity of spatial and economic structures with expectations of the local society.