Ten years on, you still hear stories like this. In the interviews I conducted with Miasteczko residents in September 2022, most of my interviewees reacted soberly to the question of what kinds of public opinion they found themselves confronted with regarding the Miasteczko and how they dealt with these. Adam, 38, a native of Warsaw who has lived in the Miasteczko almost continuously since 2005, believes that the portrayal of the district as a conglomeration of unreflective people is the result of a prevailing tendency in Polish culture to feel envy and resentment toward wealthy people. Ania, 31, who comes from southern Poland and has lived in the Miasteczko for six years, makes a similar statement. In her opinion, the prejudices that still exist are out of touch with reality. Apartments in other parts of Warsaw are now at least as expensive. Many Poles, she continues, will quite arbitrarily search for topics to criticize the prosperity of others because of an underlying social rift. At the same time, however, she speaks about the homogeneity and cohesiveness of the neighborhood: "People here have a similar worldview. This can create the appearance of a closed society, which can be disturbing for others." She herself also has little regular contact with people outside the Miasteczko. This makes the neighborly network there all the more important to her; she believes it is a unique selling point: "We lived a more anonymous life in our old apartment in Kabaty."
Magda, a mother of two older children (11 & 19 years), has been a resident of the Miasteczko since 2019. She sees the neighborly aspect differently. Like Adam, she hardly knows her neighbors. For her, the architectural homogeneity and sense of security that this neighborhood offers is what makes it special. Also, she finds its multiculturalism makes the Miasteczko stand out from other Polish neighborhoods. "When you arrive here, it doesn't seem like a Polish neighborhood. Foreigners feel at home here. And there’s a sense of tolerance, not like in the rest of Poland. It's like a kind of enclave," Magda summarizes. Jan, 39, a German by birth who lived in the Miasteczko for a year, makes a similar observation: "If you compare the population structure of the Miasteczko with that of other European cities, it’s not particularly international, of course. But by Polish standards it is".
In the eyes of its inhabitants, Miasteczko Wilanów
is pretty special by Polish standards. Multicultural, tolerant, cosmopolitan. These subjective impressions are difficult to substantiate statistically. Figures from 2017
suggest that the district of Wilanów has the highest proportion of foreigners. However, the Miasteczko
represents only a part of this overall district. Drawing conclusions from these general figures about the specific population composition of the residential district is problematic. There are no current statistics that could provide information about the population structure of the Miasteczko
. Nor is there any data on the level of satisfaction and living conditions of foreigners living there.
What is clear, however, is that the perception of the neighborhood by its residents is quite positive. According to all the interviewees, Miasteczko Wilanów offers a lot of recreational opportunities – at least for certain age groups. "It's not a dormitory town, it's actually a mini city within a city," says Magda, "which surprised me when we moved here. You can also spend your free time here." For her older daughter, however, this is not the case. There are hardly any facilities for teenagers and young adults. It’s true, there is a lack of parks, skate parks, and clubs. "I am aware that Miasteczko is a good place for young children. But not for older ones," Ania adds.