Kladno hosted the prestigious Brownfields 2023 conference
18 july 2023 | Location: Kladno
Urban transformation

The Brownfields Conference is an annual meeting of experts who aim to develop brownfield sites in the Czech Republic. This year’s conference was hosted by the Statutory City of Kladno and took place in the Strojovna hall in the former smelter called Vojtěšská huť. More than 200 participants from all over the Czech Republic shared their experiences with the transformation of former industrial sites and with urban development in a sustainable direction.

The fifth year of the conference addressed how to revitalize brownfields and make them desirable locations for living, business and leisure. The main topics included project financing, cooperation between cities and investors, setting rules for site development and economic and environmental sustainability of projects. Kladno also presented its steps on the road to smart energy and international projects that help this, such as SPARCS or Glocalflex.

Pavel Pravda from FER Consult spoke about the remediation of the largest brownfield site right in the middle of Kladno – the former Poldi Kladno steelworks – and its preparation for new use: „We have already removed over 70,000 square metres of old buildings from the area, the zoning plan and the study are complete. We are trying to preserve it with the help of subsidies. By the end of the year, we should have the tar pond on the Poldi heap ready for rehabilitation. The work has taken five years and 15,513 tonnes of contaminated soil and tar have been disposed of. More than 3,000 tons of soil and hundreds of tonnes of tar have also been removed from sinkholes in the Poldi area. We have carried out extensive clean-up work on the land and have managed to prepare some of it to a level where an investor can enter.”

Lukáš Čermák from the Ministry of the Environment and the guarantor of the Operational Programme Environment 2021+ (OP ENV 2021+) informed that only CZK 3.5 billion is allocated in this operational programme not only for the elimination of risks and environmental damage. According to him, there are still 7,598 polluted sites in the Czech Republic to be surveyed in more detail and subsequently remediated.

Among the speakers was also Kristian Skovbakke Villadsen, director and co-partner of Gehl Architects, a world-renowned Danish urban sustainability and quality studio.

When developing brownfields, public spaces, it is essential to first ask what we want life to look like in the given area. What kind of shops could survive there, how can the buildings in the area support the function of the public spaces, how should the neighbourhood function so that people feel comfortable, feel interaction. It’s good to gather telling data, to engage residents, to think about mobility, connectivity of places, emissions and carbon footprint reduction, biodiversity and so on. We have a big responsibility because we are shaping people’s lives,” said Villadsen.

You can find more information about the event here.