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The Urbanist’s Warsaw: Talking Points

Want to rile a local? Broach one of these hot topics.


Recalling the Mayor
In June, 232,000 signatures were submitted as part of a petition to oust mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz. The group that’s spearheaded the movement has cited the costs of trash collection and the painfully slow construction of the second line of the Warsaw subway system (which has led to massive traffic jams) as just a couple of reasons why she should go. Thanks to the signatures, a referendum election will be held on October 13.

Religious-Slaughter Ban
In July, the Polish Parliament voted 222 to 178 to uphold the country’s ban on religious slaughter, which was passed in January. While animal-rights activists celebrated the move as a victory, Jewish and Muslim groups decried it as a violation of their religious freedom, since the ban specifically targets kosher and halal slaughter. Poland’s religious communities came together in August to release an official statement that said they’d jointly fight the ban in Poland’s Supreme Court.

The Finnish Houses
Since 1989, Warsaw has been busy erecting skyscrapers and labyrinthine megamalls, wiping away historic buildings in the process, like the quirky Finnish cottages that were built to temporarily house displaced residents just after World War II. Of the 90 that were built, roughly 25 remain, and they’re being threatened—the land beneath them is up for grabs. Varsovians have banded together in an attempt to save these homes, though it’s unclear if they’ll be able to hold off developers.


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