KATOWICE – THE MOST CIVIL CITY IN SILESIA

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An interview with Marcin Krupa, the president of Katowice and the chairman of
Assembly Silesia-Zagłębie Metropolis Silesia about art of making decision, cooperation and building a team of professionals, and also about importance of social consultations. He is the most proud of residents of Katowice, who create this city, and their ideas, initiative and also passion are a great support for the president.

Mr President, in your opinion, a man is born leader or is he becoming one during life? What kind of predispositions help you with your duties as a President, and what abilities you acquired over the years?

There is no formula for being a leader. However, from my point of view, two abilities are fundamental. First, ability to make decisions, often very difficult ones. Different groups of people have different goals and because of that I need to make decision knowing, that not everyone will like them. Frequently, there are no clear criterias that could help in decision making. As a President, however, I took responsibility for all the decisions – and in the end citizens would judge my work based on them. Another very important thing for a leader is the ability to cooperate in a group and to build a team of professionals. You can’t do everything by yourself and working in groups give synergy effect in knowledge, experiences, ideas. In my opinion every person have a potential to be a leader – big part of it are willinges, ambition and engagement.

How does your obtained education and professional experiences help in your current position as a President?

My technical education related to transportation helps me to better understand this particular field which also affects my decisions. Right now, Katowice is in the middle of transports revolution. We realize investments for more than 700 mln pln. We builds interchange centers, bicycle routes, we buy new buses. This is great opportunity for me to constantly check my knowledge with practical aspect in this area.

Of which tasks that you have realized during your presidency you are the most proud? What aspects still need developing?

I am the most proud of Katowice residents. They are the city and their ideas, initiative and passion are huge support for me. Recently, we opened water playground in Katowice
which was inspired by one of our citizen – Mrs. Monika, who had submit such request to the so called participatory budgeting. Not long ago we were placed fifth in Poland and first in voivodeships in the ranking for the most civic city, which proves, how big is our partnership with residents. About the things we need to still work on – first and foremost we need to finish already started investments, which in the next few years will significantly improve quality of life. We will build interchange centers and three swimming pools, we will also reconstruct national road nr 81.

What about housing policy and seniors’ policy? What actions you make to support entrepreneurship, science and education, culture, art and ecology?

Extremely important is to provide places to work, so our residents can be employed and also be able to support their families in financial aspect. In Katowice we have many investors which means we have many job vacancies and thanks to that we have the third lowest unemployment rate in country. Second important criteria is availability of houses and we should emphasize that in Katowice we have less expensive apartments than in other voivodeship capitals. Besides thousands of apartments built by developers, city also build houses in TBS formula, under the program “Apartment for renovation”. And of course there are series of activities to do in leisure time about I can talk for hours. The most important are the activities on green areas which are more than half of our area in general, and there is also interesting cultural offer.

In what ways Mr. President communicate with citizens of Katowice and workers of the City Hall? How important is communication?

President is for the people – so I really take seriously this aspect of my work. In districts we organize big meetings, where anyone can come and ask questions about our city. There are also multiple events such as concerts, picnics, which can be great opportunities for me to talk with residents individually. Of course I can’t be everywhere – and that’s why I use social media to communicate – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – where I share information about Katowice and also respond to many different questions.

What kind of management methods you use?

In president work making decision after collecting data, facts, checking analyzes, getting to know opinions from people from different surroundings – for example during public consultation, hold big importance. Thanks to that there are bigger chances for the final decision to be optimal, even though as I said before, you can’t make everyone happy.

Mr President, you are citizen of Katowice since birth, in what ways that helps you in understanding other residents needs?

Since I was child I observe the city, so I can view some things in my own perspective and see what residents of different districts need, which often results from particular district’s
history.

What is your responsibilities as the chairman of Assembly Silesia-Zagłębie Metropolis Silesia?

It’s an act of trust of representatives from other communities, that create metropolis together with Katowice. As the chairman, I am responsible for the process and also conducting of meetings.

What are the plans for developing the city and region? How the preparation for climate summit COP (Conference of the Parties) are going? And what about your own personal and professional dreams, Mr President?

Preparation for Climate Summit is a huge organizational and logistic challenge, which require cooperation of many parties. We just started recruitment for volunteers. Groups responsible for promotion, cooperation with non government organizations or security during this special event, started their activities few months ago. Our priority is to plan changes in traffic organization in the city and make transport system for guests in consideration of Katowice citizens. And about my dreams – the most important one is to have residents trust and their happiness from our work.

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