Blot on the landscape

I hate to keep going on about how Warsaw’s city planning is non existent, or just out of control, but they keep giving me good reasons to do so!

On my way round Zlote Tarasy to get to the supermarket on the way home this evening, I was struck by the nice evening light falling on the buildings on the far side of Aleja Jerozolimskie. I was then struck by just how little of the buildings is actually visible!

Thanks to either greed, bad planning, ineffective regulations or a combination of all three, Warsaw is slowly becoming a city hidden behind gigantic advertisements. I have more than enough exposure to advertisements through other means, internet, TV, radio, papers, magazines and those pesky little cards everyone shoves under your windscreen wipers thank you very much. I therefore have no desire to see the city I live in just become one huge orgy of marketing trash!

I can’t think of another capital city, any city for that matter, that would obliterate so much of one of its major thoroughfares in quite the way Warsaw is doing here on Jerozolimskie. One small stretch of street, no fewer than 7 massive adverts and that’s only because I don’t have a wider lens on this camera. Just to the right of this shot is an entire building covered in crap and just to the left is the most massive, annoying and unavoidable example of this in the whole city.

I don’t know if this is someone’s idea of a joke or if it is supposed to look better than the buildings themselves but I find it utterly outrageous. Budapest is top of my list of cities that needs very serious façade maintenance but at least they don’t hide it all behind advertising! No doubt the morons that approve all this trash have signed long term contracts so I expect we’re stuck with it for a while to come.

Dare I mention my pet annoyance of the year? The items that can be found in the foreground of this picture – more red & white poles! It really is hard to take any picture in this city without getting a few dozen of them in the shot. Perhaps one day they’ll remove the pile of grit in the middle of the street as well. Sometimes I despair, quite often actually.

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15 thoughts on “Blot on the landscape

  1. guest says:

    They will fight against it…

    …the law must be changed.

  2. Jacek Wesołowski says:

    Some local newspapers have been fighting this phenomenon for a few years now. There have been some minor successes, and the whole issue is slowly becoming the kind that gets raised during election campaigns.

    Unfortunately, it is a persistent custom of Polish right wing not to be very environment-sensitive (by “environment” I mean both the green and general aesthetics). The only reason why there are still some parks in Warsaw is that every time the council tries to turn another lawn into an office tower, there is strong resistance from local communities. Granted, there are some lawns that could be turned into office towers without anyone’s detriment. Many town officials seem to share the opinion that all the trees make Warsaw less metropolitan. Which is why I don’t plan to move away from Żoliborz. They won’t dare to defoliate a pre-war district.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “I can’t think of another capital city, any city for that matter, that would obliterate so much of one of its major thoroughfares in quite the way Warsaw is doing here on Jerozolimskie. ”

    UHMMM. London? L.A.? Tokyo? Paris? Toronto? and of course
    New York City.

  4. scatts says:

    guest, good for them! I hope somebody listens.

    Happy Jack (ho ho), welcome fellow Zoliborz resident! The day they start removing parks is the day I chain myself to the railings!

    Anon, London – no, Paris – no. New York, L.A & Tokyo – of course but that’s their culture. Never been to Toronto. I meant to say “European” cities anyway. Who cares what the rest of the world is up to. :)

  5. Jolanta says:

    I have always thought that Krakow is terrible in this respect but it turns out that Warszawa is even worse.
    What I detest about Krakow is the “false facades” made of some kind of textile with the renovated look painted on them which have been put on some old buildings (the buildings are definitely in need of professional help). Obviously, one is made to guess at the state of the real facade hidden behind that fake prettiness – what hypocrisy!


  6. island1 says:

    Jolanta: I have to say I always thought that was a good idea! I assumed those fake facades (can you have a ‘fake facade,’ interesting question?) were there to cover up the mess while renovation was carried out, and as such I thought it was quite clever. Are you saying there’s nothing going on behind there? You’ve shattered my illusions.

  7. Jolanta says:

    Island, I am really sorry but I do have to tell you that in a number of buildings I know nothing has been going on for years. Perhaps there are a few where some kind of renovation is carried out so – take heart in spite of what I have just said.

    Yes, I personally can have a “fake facade”, quite often, in fact. Especially when I am tired or fed up but I have to pretend that I am as lively and energetic as people expect me to be at work.


  8. island1 says:

    Jolanta: I was referring to the common figurative use of the word meaning ‘an outward appearance deliberately used to conceal an unpleasant or distasteful reality’ as in ‘she wore a cheery facade despite her broken heart.’ My point being that a facade is inherently false and therefore it’s tautological.

    My turn to be teacher :)

  9. darthsida says:

    Island, nothing to scare us with teachers about. This is the land of “fakty autentyczne” [‘true facts’] (check up your nearest newspeak dictionary). And a forged falseness is truth, indeed, if insist on binary logics you must :)

  10. scatts says:

    Architecturally speaking you can quite easily have a false façade. The word façade being used correctly to describe the front of the building. Anything put in front of this (especially if pretending to look like the façade of a building) would therefore be a false, or perhaps to keep the French thing going, faux, façade. So there!

  11. Raf Uzar says:

    I personally love the Polish word “plomby” which brilliantly describes buildings that are just “fillers” (or “fillings”).

  12. Jolanta says:

    Island, I am pleading for mercy!
    I do know “the common figurative use of the word” facade; actually, it is identical in Polish: fasada means pozory e.g. fasada wesołości, bohaterska fasada etc. I was merely trying to make a jocular comment but it turns out that I made a fool of myself.


  13. island1 says:

    Jolanta: I was only joshing – mercy granted

  14. […] One final notable picture was this, grabbed at the junction of JPII and Solidarności. A massive Nikon advert in the process of being installed on the face of a building. As if this city doesn’t already have enough of this trash! […]

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