The initiative focuses on the district of Ursus, situated in the western part of the densely built-up area of the Warsaw conurbation, concentrating on the many problems typical for suburbs of industrial cities. Examples of the problems of Ursus include the growing rate of occupational inactivity, the ageing population, the competing attraction of central Warsaw and environmental threats.

Ursus first came into being as an independent satellite town of Warsaw at the end of the First World War, in connection with plans to create an engineering and weapons industry after Poland regained its independence. The plan for the development of an industrial area and communications infrastructure in the western part of Warsaw at that time included construction of a large engineering industry centre on the site of the existing villages Czechowice, Skorosze and Szamotuły. Construction of the “Ursus” Mechanical Works began in 1923 next to Czechowice and the railway line running through it, first producing machinery for the army, and from the 1930s armoured vehicles and tanks. A process of urbanization, whereby the old individual houses in the area were replaced with new standardized structures, accompanied the developing industry. One of the areas included within Ursus was the village of Golabek, built in the convention of a farming estate (similarly to the neighbouring garden‐town of Wlochy).

After the end of the Second World War, the Mechanical Works in Ursus started civil production, becoming one of the largest producers of tractors in the world by the 1970s. Ursus, an independent town in its own right between 1952 and 1977, has now become one of the 18 districts of Warsaw. Ursus, with 7,000  inhabitants on the eve of the Second World War, was enlarged twice in the second half of XX century. The residential estate of Niedźwiadek was build
between 1968‐1978 to accommodate over 18,000 people. It was the biggest social investment accompanying the extension of the factory in Ursus during that period. The settlement was transformed from one colonized by landowners’ mansion houses to one dominated by a huge socialist industry.

After the transformation of the political system in 1989, along with industrial decline, a major part of the old plants was divided up and leased out to private tenants until 2003. Currently, developers are planning to restructure part of
the land occupied by the old factories in the New Town of Ursus – a residential district with fully developed social facilities for 30,000 inhabitants. The district faces the challenge of finding a new identity between the continuation of
its industrial past in a new incarnation, and a bedroom‐city for those working in the central areas of Warsaw.

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