Observations from Warsaw

Not a typical European city

Warsaw is not a typical European city. The city was almost fully demolished in 1944 by the Germans to destroy the Polish national identity. The Poles put enormous effort into rebuilding their capital, but because of limited resources and a different vision of urban design, only the older city was rebuilt with the same buildings and street network.

The urban fabric of the 19th-century industrial city, characteristic to central Europe, was mostly gone and not rebuilt.

Source: Google Earth

The city core is still recognizably European, with strong street walls, but it is dominated by post-war building facades and, most importantly, massive streets.

In most cities, massive streets tend to be generally horrible. In Warsaw, while they still have their drawbacks, extensive sidewalks and proper cycling infrastructure make these streets surprisingly adequate.

With so many massive streets, the car infrastructure is very generous. And this carried into regular streets as well – creating local streets that are dominated by cars.

The city is dominated by its yellow and red trams and buses.
The trams and some bus lines have separate rights-of-way so they don’t stand in traffic.
There are many hip cafes and restaurants.
There is a lot of attention to detail in interiors.
A lot of Black Railing, very Parisian.
It’s very child-friendly, including the centre.
There are cool kiosks!