The foundation of the Letňany lentils project was laid at the end of 2010, when the architects were given the first assignment to revitalize the old Prague housing estate. The Letňanská lentilka project does not address the reconstruction of prefabricated houses, but the complete regeneration of courtyard plots, the creation of leisure areas and the solution to the lack of parking. The concept of public space solutions is inspired by lentils, which symbolize playfulness, color, fun, adventure, activity and at the same time are clearly identifiable. They represent exactly what Letňany lacked in the old housing estate. Lentils represent individual areas with specific use for social life, relaxation, sports and play.
Lentilky must be seen as a complex change in a 30-year-old housing estate. Young families want playgrounds, drivers parking and elderly people a relaxing and quiet area with greenery. Anyone who would expect everyone to agree 100% with the project would not be a realist. However, a unified approach and agreement were the existential parameters of the whole project. Without compromise from all involved, Lentils could never have been realized.
The Letňany lentils project directly affects the lives of almost 3,500 people. Letňany is no different from other city districts, so it is perhaps no surprise that a huge number of rumors have arisen around the project. However, never in the history of Letňany has the project been so public, transparent and open to all opinions, according to which it was modified in many cases.
Citizens were able to attend meetings of the Commission for the Regeneration of Housing Estates and the Environment. Regular articles on the project website contributed to the increased awareness. All questions were answered in an open discussion. Lentils are not just the work of architects and one councilor, but are the result of the work of people from all over the housing estate. It was with their comments, questions and ideas that helped Lentilek make a real change of settlement, which we can all be proud of.
The fact that Lentilky is a team project was also shown by the unity of the municipal council. Unambiguous and overwhelming support in approving even very unpopular extra work – 16 of the 18 representatives were PRO – is a clear proof that the project of revitalization of the housing estate was well prepared and correctly implemented. From the beginning of the project, the basic motto was: people should decide about their surroundings themselves – self-government is only here as a means of making changes. In other words: people determine the appearance of their surroundings, people from the town hall are here to prepare a project, go through all the procedures, get subsidies and do the work.
The housing estate is now like new. The children were given 3 new playgrounds and a restored pyramid. Adults can work out in Kuželova Street and older ones can sit on the new square or at chess. Everyone will definitely enjoy the new fountain at Žabka and of course the new greenery. Over 1,200 new shrubs and almost 100 trees will fundamentally enliven this part of Letňany. All lawns are new and perennial flower beds in Malkovského and Místecká will be amazingly colorful in the spring.
Parking has been the biggest topic since the first public presentation. The positive balance in parking spaces was a clear condition for obtaining a building permit. Canceled places in Kuželova Street are being replaced in larger numbers in Ivančická or Jančov. The car park in Místecká has also grown, only in Malkovský a few places have decreased due to the expansion of greenery and the sports field. In the coming years, however, the reconstruction of Bahok (small business) is planned, which also includes the construction of free parking spaces.
Lentils also brought a higher level of security to the housing estate. The play elements on children’s playgrounds are certified, the impact areas and the arrangement of the playgrounds comply with the applicable standards, thus minimizing possible injuries and accidents. From the traffic point of view, the streets will be marked as ZONE 30, where the maximum allowed speed is 30 km / h and pedestrians always have priority over cars. The new camera system will check all day to see if anything wrong is happening in the housing estate. The goal for the future is to set up a municipal police station directly in Lentilky, which could be achieved within the already mentioned reconstruction of Bahok.
Of course, new playgrounds, swings, slides and fitness machines will also attract vandals. All elements on the lentils will be included in the city furniture. They will undergo regular visual inspections (approximately twice a month) and revisions exactly according to warranty and legislative requirements. The Chlebovická courtyard is a good example of how Letňany can take care of its property. We will take care of Lentilky just as well and only time will show how people can treat their surroundings.