The Warsaw Voice » Regional Voice » Monthly - August 28, 2015
The Rzeszˇw Voice
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Rzeszˇw: A City of New Technology
   
Tadeusz Ferenc, mayor of the southeastern city of Rzeszˇw, talks to Barbara Derŕgowska about the dynamic development of the city.

Is it true that children in Rzeszˇw preschools have been learning Chinese for two years now?
We have been teaching children to speak Chinese, in addition to other foreign languages, ever since we returned from the Chinese city of Fangchenggang, which became a partner city of Rzeszˇw in 2012. But that’s not all. We work with partners virtually all over the world. Since 1991, we have signed 12 partnership agreements with cities in Germany, Austria, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine and Slovakia, and more recently with cities in China and the United States. We attend trade fairs, congresses, business conferences and exhibitions in France, India, and Korea. These contacts are based on Rzeszˇw’s technological potential and highlighting the city’s principal business strengths, which means its companies and universities tied to industries such as aviation, information technology, chemicals and plastics production. For example, our contacts with the United States have resulted in Rzeszˇw becoming the first city in Europe to start using a modern Apple computer system for managing municipal investment projects. The system has been developed by American company InfoTech from Gainesville, Florida. There is an intensive exchange in progress between universities, especially in the medical and aerospace sectors. We have teamed up with U.S. company RTJ Tutogen, which uses the world’s newest technology for preparing tissue for the transplantation of bones, tendons, skin and the cornea [the outermost layer of the eye]. A recent visit by representatives from the German subsidiary of RTJ Tutogen offers hope that a modern plant to process tissue for transplantation will open in Rzeszˇw. In addition, our international Jasionka airport, which has Poland’s second largest runway, has attracted the interest of representatives from the U.S. airport of Miami. Preliminary talks have already started on the exchange of cargo between the two airports. We are also in close contact with the Polish community in America and a chamber of commerce in Chicago. That city is home to many Poles, including many of those who once lived in Rzeszˇw before leaving Poland years ago. We try to find something interesting and innovative for Rzeszˇw in all these contacts. For example, we are finishing the construction of a passive apartment building that will be owned by the city and guarantee minimal heat loss. The project was inspired by a German professor who gave a lecture about energy-efficient buildings at an international conference that we attended five years ago. In another project, a passive office building, a modern 20,000-square-meter facility, is being constructed in Rzeszˇw.

The dynamic development of Rzeszˇw is confirmed by the city’s high ratings in many league tables and competitions. Rzeszˇw has become known as a city of new technology and is number two in Europe, after Lisbon, in terms of demand for IT specialists. According to the Europe Business Assembly (EBA), Rzeszˇw is a very attractive business destination, one of 12 internationally that have received a special certificate and a flag of investment attractiveness. What are other drivers of the city’s development?
We primarily focus on sustainable development. We pay attention not only to the economy but also to the development of education, culture and sports. New housing developments full of amenities are being built to meet the needs of residents from different age groups. For young people, we build modern nurseries, preschools and schools and for senior citizens we build medical rehabilitation centers. Nearby there are swimming pools, playgrounds, gyms and arts centers.

The city’s business image has been shaped primarily by its aviation tradition and a program to build the Central Industrial District (COP). This has attracted many companies with foreign capital. An Aviation Valley and business clusters have emerged. The Light and Ultralight Aviation Cluster comprises 19 companies and works with five clusters from Hungary and New Zealand. Rzeszˇw is responsible for 90 percent of Poland’s total aviation production. There are also other sectors, such as ICT, construction, and food.

Our city is the largest academic center in the European Union in terms of the number of students in relation to the number of inhabitants. Rzeszˇw’s universities have a combined 60,000 students and it is these young people who are the target group of our promotional campaign: “Rzeszˇw—here we take your dreams seriously.” We are counting primarily on students from innovative fields of study and specializing in modern technologies.

Our investment policy promotes mainly the development of roads, public transportation, construction and green spaces in the city. We lead the way among Polish cities in terms of investment per resident.