Monday, October 29, 2012

Nowa Huta, Krakow, Poland - the inefficiencies of communist planning

Shopping area in Plac Centralny (Central Place), 1950s

A scene in Plac Centralny circa 1960.  After the fall of communism, it was renamed Plac Ronald Reagan, who was US President during Poland's marshal law years in the 1980s.
Trams in Plac Ronald Reagan, 2010. (Geoff Churchman)

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Literally "New Steel Works," Nowa Huta, an eastern suburb of Krakow in Poland, was built between 1949 and 1959 as a model example of a communist workers paradise with a giant coal fired steelworks and a complex of Soviet style apartment blocks.  Although clean when built, the pollution soon caked them in grime. And just in case the workers decided it wasn't a paradise, these were designed with only a few strategic entrance points which could be blocked off by soldiers, as happened in the marshal law years of the 1980s.

Today Nowa Huta is an educational archaeological and anthropological experience! A good analysis of it is here and a tourist experience is here.

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