In this essay the author explores the relation between fragmentation, segregation, and reconstitution of urban order. Although metaphors of cohesiveness are usually applied to the past, and fragmentations to the present, nevertheless the city of fragmentations coexists recently with another image of the city – a nostalgic city of lived body. It will be hard to speak in simple notions of true and false experience here; the difference is in the very idea of Aristotelian “the good life”. Dealing with Edward Soja’s concept of somatography she will argue that in an age of informational technologies, mobility, and consumer culture, such old metaphors like city as a fragmented dead body and city as a lived body are more important than ever. Acts of differentiation, separation, and segregations are based both on urban somatophobia and urban somatophilia. The question to be asked here is what is reconstitution of urban order in the first sense, or revitalisation of city space in the second.
Revitalisation, which is defined as a planned process of restoring deprived areas, entails the difficult challenge of achieving long-lasting spatial, economic and social effects. In Poland, the accompanying inflow of European Union funds not only fosters a wide range of activities for entities involved in urban renewal, but also raises a question about the potential dysfunction of investments in deprived areas. Based on the experiences of Kraków, the paper presents some undesirable effects of projects implemented under the Local Revitalisation Programmes (LRP) in the years 2007-2013. The goal of the LRP projects was to promote the rehabilitation of deprived housing areas. The initial results, however, indicate that these projects are characterised by specific pitfalls, which include touristification, uniformisation, gentrification and social polarisation.
The aim of the article is to present an outline of the concept of revitalisation as a public intervention aimed at strengthening local cohesion. The concept emphasises the multi-faceted, participatory and inclusive nature of revitalisation. The article contains arguments in favour of the following theses: (1) Revitalisation should be not only an ad hoc reaction to the accumulation of crisis levels, but also a long-term action for local cohesion; (2) The long-term success of revitalisation depends on the scale and quality of the involvement of residents, especially residents from disadvantaged or excluded communities; (3) The inclusion of social economy entities in the revitalisation process is an important factor in strengthening local cohesion