Poland was recently ranked a shameful 41st in the Transparency International corruption perceptions index. The percentage of preparatory proceedings regarding corruption cases in the public sector was as high as 70% – and usually concerned infrastructure, construction, and real estate. More than half of businesses acknowledged that they had encountered corruption with respect to construction permits. In Lublin, unclear provisions of law, or the fact that there is no zoning plan, is conducive to corruption. There has been a lot of controversy in recent years regarding a favorable approach of authorities to property development projects. Property developers are influential, and have money and legal resources. Residents have no knowledge of the law and do not have contacts to act effectively in administrative procedures.
The Project Promoter will monitor property development projects and dependence in the relationship between property developers and municipal authorities. It will identify any institutional loopholes and procedural errors that might exist, and present the findings in a report and public exhibition. The report will also be used for advocacy measures during the election campaign. Fundacja Wolności will support the role of residents in environmental and zoning procedures relating to real estate. The support will be provided in the form of briefings and investigative walks, and assistance in formulating proposals, producing visualizations, and providing updates on the proceedings.
The project will be useful to residents of Lublin, especially activists in the district councils and new residential estates, politicians, and CSOs. The public will have greater awareness of residents’ rights and of local government activity with respect to real estate and zoning. There will be greater public involvement in local issues. While legislative changes may not come about quickly, it is entirely feasible that the practice of applying the law will improve.