Today is day three of my assignment here in Poland. We have been meeting with the Mayor and his team, and have a really good sense of the city now. Katowice is a city of around 320,000 people, but it is the center of a larger agglomeration of cities in Upper Silesia, with a combined population of around 3 million. The city has a strong heritage in the mining and steel industries, but has been transforming itself to embrace new opportunities in high technology industries. That transformation is what we’re here to assist.
We started today acting like investors, and the Mayor and city officials presented their investment pitch to us. It was extremely eye-opening for us.
My first impressions are that the city has a huge amount of potential. It is much nicer than I imagined coming in. The architecture and city layout are very nice. It still shows signs of its industrial heritage, and needs a few finishing touches in its appearance, but overall it is a very nice European city. What has truly amazed me, however, is the level of investment that this relatively small city has received from the EU, and from private business. There are an enormous number of building projects ongoing, and many more planned in the near future. This is a great foundation upon which to build, and which most cities do not have going for them.
I have one more meeting this evening with the Mayors of some of the other cities in the Agglomeration, so I’ll get more information on the broader region there. We’ll also be sharing with them our vision and experiences with Smarter Cities.