Our Tier 2 cities - 

Radom

Context

Radom is located in the centre of Radom Plain, which is a part of the Mazovian Lowland, in the fork of the Vistula and Pilica rivers. The layout of the city retains characteristics of its history as an early Medieval settlement to a 19th century city centre, a function that it still fulfils. This level of historical preservation is unique in Poland.

Early Radom

At the turn of the 8th and 9th centuries, in the valley of the Mleczna river the first type of rural settlements were established. Their inhabitants were occupied with agriculture, farming and fishing. At the end of the 10th century on an artificial hill on the right bank of the Mleczna river a fortified town was built along with a neighbouring settlement. In the 12th century a castellans headquarters was located in Radom and St. Peter’s church was built. The neighbouring area evolved into a craft-market settlement. During the next years, Radom began to develop in an easterly direction. In the 12th century St. Wacław’s church was built.

The settlement changed into an early-medieval town, chartered according to the Środa law, a variant of the Magdeburg law.

In 1350 king Casimir the Great founded New Radom, and in 1364 he chartered it according to the Magdeburg law. The main buildings were built: Fara, a castle and a town hall and there was a significant increase in the importance of the city in the region and the country. The name “Radom” appeared in a written source for the first time in 1155 (in the papal bull). The question of the derivation of the name has not been fully clarified. Numerous attempts to explain the name pointed to its relationship with Radomir, the legendary prince, founder of the settlement. In 1505 during the Sejm in Radom, the ‘Nihil Novi’ constitution was passed and became one of the most important documents of political state, according to which the king could hardly decide anything new without the consent of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

 

Development of Radom

At the end of the 18th century Radom was in a state of neglect.

The ancient city walls were in ruin. Private houses, town and ecclesiastical property were devastated and in need of renovation. Streets were muddy and diffilcult to pass. Moats and sewage canals failed to serve their functions. The Mleczna river lowlands and areas situated to the south were repeatedly flooded. There was an urgent need to dry and re-organize the town. In 1822 the regulation plan concerning organisation and expansion of Radom was approved.

One of the aims of the project was to establish new residential areas in the developing town, which already spread beyond its original medieval boundaries. In the years 1918-1945 the development of the city continued. The inclusion of Radom to the Central Industrial District allowed the creation of several factories including the production of weapons, phones and shoes. The tobacco industry was developed and the municipal gasworks was established. In 1933 a new railway line was built connecting Radom and Warsaw.

 

Approach 1: Climate change in our city

The Mleczna River (The Milky River) – the right-bank tributary of the Radomka river, 30 km long, a total area of the river basin about 300 square km. It has its source on a hill near the village Kowala and flows into the Radomka river in the surroundings of the village of Lisów. In the Borki district in Radom an artificial lake has been formed on the Mleczna River with a recreation area of about 9 hectares.

Periods of drought and heavy rain cause damage to forests due to water disruption.

Alternating periods of flooding or drying forest are occurring more frequently than before. In 2013, the area of more than 920 ha was damaged due to interference of water relations including 560 ha of flooding area and 360 ha of drying area. Other abiotic and anthropogenic factors like low or high temperatures, frost and hail have smaller, local significance. In 2013 hail caused damage to more than 400 ha, fire affected 12 hectares while the extreme temperatures damaged 7 hectares.

 

Approach 2: Flood hazard in Radom

In 2005 part of the City Centre was flooded because of heavy rainfall. As a result several problems occured: floodings of houses, blocking streets, most citizens lost everything they owned. Two districts of Radom were flooded due to rapid run-off from Malczewski Pond. As a result of the operation, in which about one hundred firefighters took place, two main streets were closed because of flooding

Water from Malczewski Pond, turned into a rushing river, flooding the construction site of the southern ring road of the city.

Radom faced in June yet another flood situation when the southern district of the city was flooded because of dewatering of the storage water tank in a nearby area. The result: destruction of the nearby park, water could not flash into sewage wells, ditches were also  unable to cope with the volume of accumulated water. The Milky River (the Mleczna River) flowing through Radom, is a real flood threat.

Nowadays Radom is at far greater risk of serious flooding than ever before.

There are several different reasons why the situation has worsened.

1) Heavy rainfall is one of the most frequent and widespread severe weather hazards to affect the City;

2) Thaw: caused by the rapid melting of snow.

In Radom precipitation is lower than the average for the province and it is 605mm. The minimum precipitation recorded during this period was 404 mm and maximum - 841mm. Annual rainfall reaches 554.4 mm. Although in Radom it is observed lower precipitation than the average amount for the whole province, the city was flooded as a result of the floods in the period of the last ten years.

The origins of the problem:

  • The permission for construction on flood plains or in the close neighborhood of
    natural riverbanks;
  • In the processes of urban and architectural transformation it is commonly accepted to cover areas of land with asphalt and concrete (no infiltration of rainwater / thaw waters).
  • Connecting the existing sewer system with new settlements, thus exceeding the approved project installation limits of frequency of ‘reliable’ rain and leads to failure of the system, eg. in case of heavy rains.
  • ‘reliable’ rain - rain, the duration of which is equal to time of run-off of a single molecule from the farthest point of the catchment of a retaining road structure to calculate section surface drainage.

There are several barriers while building the flood protection of the city from the point of view of spatial planning:

  • Awareness of professionals responsible for the land and spatial development of the municipality,
  • Awareness of local residents,
  • Lack of updated information system,
  • Lack of constructive cooperation with neighboring local governments in terms of spatial management within the area of these municipalities,
  • Low percentage of urban greenery in the city area in combination with inefficient sewer system
    during rainfall may contribute to local flooding,
    Location in the valley of the Pilica and the Vistula rivers- high probability of flooding,
  • The assumption that storage reservoirs are sufficient flood protection,
    Allowing for building on floodplains or in the close proximity of natural riverbanks.

Approach 3

 

1) Multi-level territorial approach to managing extreme flows in urban areas

Territorial planning provides an important tool for solving multiple problems of flows management. The urban drainage systems are more effective if the regional planning (or another relevant scale level) is considered and the water coming from outside the city is retained before it reaches the inner city. Adaptation in the city is more successful and cost-efficient if the natural retention and natural green areas and wetlands are restored, preserved and used for retention purposes. This project will attempt to implement the adaptation actions at two levels: catchment area and inner city area. It has a demonstration character and can be replicated in any city.

Green infrastructure outside the city can buffer the negative effects and store incoming waters into the city.

2) “Green-blue infrastructure”

The green-blue infrastructure is based on innovative solutions to solve problems related to runoff, its quantity and quality, from the impermeable surfaces in the urban environment. It is based on integrating the green (nature) and the blue (water) “infrastructure” into the city landscape improving city’s drainage system backups. It is targeted at managing the rainfall as soon as possible after it falls and simultaneously uses it for enhancing biodiversity in the city. Sustainable management of water at the site of precipitation (integrated approach, source control) is becoming more popular lately, but in Poland, this project is considered as “trend-setting”. Several of such solutions may be cost-efficient, easy to plan. Some examples and best practices are known from the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, the Scandinavian countries, the UK and France. Some other elements, such as “Klima-pond” have not been installed yet and have full pilot character.