The article concerns problems with shaping contemporary housing estates. By analyzing housing structures designed in recent years, the aim was to demonstrate the importance of creating the continuity of public spaces in order to achieve places seen as attractive and presenting features of high quality urban space. Essential for the research is the question about the conditions which should be fulfi lled when creating the ideal residential place which then leads to a series of answers. These included indicating a good location with functional and aesthetic urban/architectural solutions. Environmental issues are important as well. Regardless of whether it is a multi-family dwelling or a single family house, a good neighborhood and its location in a well-connected place with necessary basic services within walking range are important. It is also signifi cant how the public space was shaped and whether a natural network was created. Due to factors such as the specifi city of the structure’s location in the city and diff erent surfaces of designed estates, as well as the variety of residential buildings being constructed, it is often diffi cult to assess them unambiguously. Importantly, this assessment also includes social and economic aspects as well as technical issues. However, by using multi-directional research it can be noted that the forms of public spaces within housing complexes play an important role in the creation of high-quality structures, perceived as attractive not only by the residents.
The main objective of the article is an attempt to indicate factors which determine the image of a city as a good place to live as well as to reveal the ways in which they affect the citizens’ quality of life. In order to do so, the author selected the city of Gdynia which is perceived as the best city to live in by its citizens. Among the most important factors determining the quality of life in general there are: the scale of a city, local identity, public spaces, symbolic places, housing environment, perception of a place, personal satisfaction of a place where a particular person lives, urban policies as well as presence and activeness of local leaders. The article presents the results of a social study carried out by the author herself during two periods of time – in 2004 and 2014 as well as the results of the Social Diagnosis 2015.
The two chosen estates, Garnizon and Wiszace Ogrody have evolved during the last decade or so in Gdańsk. Both developed with the idea of balanced functionality and New Urbanism despite very diff erent locations. The aim was to combine apartment buildings with shops, other services, hotels, offi ce buildings and cultural venues. Numerous interesting and inviting public spaces were also high on the agenda. It was intended to create an interesting, multifunctional space, to maximise the use of the space throughout the day, also making it eco friendly by minimising the use of cars. That`s how an interesting, beautifull space impacts the energy. The centrally located Garnizon has been quite successful, whereas the more peripherally placed Wiszące Ogrody has not quite succeeded due to fi nancial restrictions and is mainly a housing estate at the moment. The hope is that it will grow into a similar entity with new development and helped by the new rail link.