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Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.123
Green Wedges of Warsaw: Towards an infrastructure of withdrawal in a polluted city
The paper discusses the almost lost socialist-modernist green corridor infrastructure as a focal point of urban struggles amid air pollution crisis in Warsaw. Over the past decades, the radial green ventilation corridors nicknamed wedges have been disappearing at an alarming rate amid new construction. The call for a preservation of the remaining wedges has become a powerful symbol channeling the desired forms of urbanity and environmental policy making, even though their functionality as a pollution alleviation measure has been put in question. The paper investigates the citizens’ request for a withdrawal, lack of construction, and even abandonment within the remaining green space of the corridors and addresses the way in which scientific uncertainty got overridden by the affective associations among Warsovians. The ‘withdrawal’ infrastructure of the wedges is deemed evocative due to its unique, negative nature that remains deeply modernist and yet relies on no technology or upkeep whatsoever. In a way, it is thus mimetically linked to the activists’ refusal of the extractionist, developmentalist policies that stand behind the pollution crisis in Poland in the first place. The struggle for the wedges thus can be understood as a statement in favour of tightening of the regulatory policies and circumvention of the ownership rights’ privileges that have been held sacred in post-socialist Poland.