Some Remarks on Economic Base of Urban Settlements in Metropolitan Areas of Poland

Present-day mechanisms of socio-economic development of space, determined by the emergence of information-based society, technological advances and economic globalisation, created new conditions for Polish towns and regions. There is an ongoing spatial concentration, involving, on the one hand, enhanced growth opportunities for large cities and their peripheral areas, and on the other – expansion of international exchange. These change are accompanied by the process of metropolization, which is an embodiment of the concept of flexible spatial structures. Flexibility is a factor making it possible for regional structures to adapt to changing internal and external conditions (macro-spatial, national, international and global), and to eliminate or reduce spatial conflicts and development barriers. What is still lacking in Poland, however, is the full awareness of the value of space, characteristic of developed European countries. Other, equally important deficiencies are superficiality and short-sightedness of the planning system and spatial economy . The quality of urban space largely depends on the manner of managing the metropolitan area within which a given city is functioning. Regrettably, local governments in Poland not always fully realize what their roles and tasks are in this respect. For example, there is no widespread tradition of public-private undertakings. Therefore globalization in Polish cities does not appear to be a safe, beneficial process. Today it mostly means a more intensive inflow of not the best models of arranging city space. Our towns may become areas of expansion of speculative capital, seeking to gain fast profits at possibly lowest cost, at the risk of their potential future degradation. The status of Polish cities as European cities is at stake.
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