Lucie Baránková Vilamová has devoted her life to Ostrava’s second most populous district. She was born in Poruba, graduated from its university and now has become its mayor. She told us about the district‘s focus on green projects and its journey towards becoming a modern hub attractive to residents.
An important aspect of Poruba’s beauty lies in the abundance of greenery and flowers planted all around. Are green projects a priority for the district?
Definitely. In recent years, we have been focusing on the renovation of local parks and courtyards. In my opinion, one of our most successful projects was the revitalization of Družba Square. We planted new foliage, created threshing paths, installed modern furniture and arranged secluded areas for relaxation. These changes gave the area a second life and, since I live close by, I enjoy stopping in. The renovation of Jan Neruda Square has enjoyed a similar level of success. Currently, we are preparing the transformation of the two parks by the Poklad House of Culture. One of them will be turned into a relaxation zone with a fountain, similar to the one that used to be at Masaryk Square, while the other one will be more focused on sports and recreation. Vítězslav Novák Square is also in the queue for a facelift.
You mentioned courtyards…
Poruba’s courtyards have become somewhat of a phenomenon, especially the oldest ones that form truly private spaces. Many generations of Poruba’s residents grew up around them and they are even mentioned fondly in Jaromír Nohavica’s songs. At this point, however, they are long overdue for renovation. Last year, we renewed the courtyard in Pionýrů street, and this year we are moving on to the one by Jan Neruda Square. Locals no longer register incremental changes but large-scale improvements. The open-air atrium at Col. Rajmund Prachala street is undergoing this same transformation right now
You make use of modern technologies when taking care of vegetation. Could you tell us more about this?
We try to follow all the current trends and then adapt them for use under our conditions. Simply copying a system that works elsewhere is not enough. Each location has its own specific conditions and it is key to take them into account. We were considering using the mosaic system of mowing grass for a while. It is a schematic procedure during which a part of the grass-plot is left uncut. The longer grass serves as a food source for insects, and shelter for small animals while also helping with adaptation to climate change. However, this requires a large grass-plot and Poruba, being a fairly dense urban area, does not possess many areas that would qualify for this type of grass maintenance.
Did you manage to find any areas that you could apply this to?
Yes, we did. We implemented this process in two areas of Poruba, however, once again, we adapted it according to our needs. Mosaic grass mowing traditionally leaves lanes of grass uncut, and we were not satisfied with that. Therefore, we contacted the company that handles our vegetation maintenance and arranged for them to leave circular islands uncut instead. This fulfills the same purpose while also looking a lot better.
Last year, you planted Poruba’s first flower meadow. What were the results?
It was a great decision, for two reasons. First, the locals love it. Social media was filled with people taking pictures of the meadow on Francouzská Street. Second, it allowed us to verify that this strategy serves its purpose in protecting the climate. Though it may be a small detail, everything counts. These results solidified our decision to continue planting flowers in other areas as well.
Where will people be able to find more of these meadows?
Initially, we had five new places in mind; now we have eleven. We want to allow people all across Poruba to enjoy a view of these meadows. We filled another 3,755m2 with flowers. In total, Poruba now has almost 6,000m2 of wildflowers.
Ms Mayor, thank you for the interview.