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City-region governance in transitional contexts: the case of the BRICS

Abstract

The bulk of the scholarly literature on city-regions and their governance is drawn from contexts where economic and political systems have been stable over an extended period. However, many parts of the world, including all countries in the BRICS, have experienced far-reaching national transformations in the recent past in economic and/or political systems. The national transitions are complex, with a mix of continuity and rupture, while their translation into the scale of the city-region is often indirect. But, these transitions have been significant for the city-region, providing a period of opportunity and institutional fluidity. Studies of the BRICS show that outcomes of transitions are varied but that there are junctures of productive comparison including the ways in which the nature of the transitions create new path dependencies, and way in which interests across territorial scales soon consolidate, producing new rigidities in city-region governance.

Open access
Investigating factors affecting the mode choices of commuters in Kuwait city & surrounding urban areas: Strategies for a higher quality and more sustainable public transport system

Abstract

This paper reports on the social, cultural, and demographic factors affecting Kuwaiti commuters. The objectives were to 1) investigate the awareness of Kuwaitis of transportation problems, 2) examine the perceptions of Kuwaitis of daily traffic congestion and how it affects them emotionally and physically, and the main objective 3) study the attitudes of Kuwaitis towards using public buses. An online survey was used to examine these factors, and a sample of five hundred transportation system users was obtained. The primary findings showed significant associations between the use of public transport buses and the user’s nationality, gender, age, education, and income level. Men are 2.6 times more likely to use buses, and non-Kuwaiti residents are 6.4 times more likely to use them. In relation to the perceptions of daily traffic congestion, findings indicate that with increase in travel time, commuters, in general, developed more negative feelings, such as exhaustion and stress. A large proportion of the sample population is aware of current local transportation problems and future transportation projects. The results of this study fill a gap in the knowledge of the socioeconomic and cultural factors that influence the success of sustainable public transportation solutions to the traffic challenges found in Kuwait. This knowledge is also crucial to foreign consultants working on planning and transportation projects in the region. It is recommended that officials use this new knowledge on cultural factors to develop integrated land use and transportation plans of the urban areas in Kuwait and to develop more effective and sustainable transportation demand management policies in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals that Kuwait has signed up to pursue.

Open access
A model of the analysis of the dynamics and structure of socio-economic development (an example of the set of the largest Polish cities in the years 1998–2015)

Abstract

The complexity of the reality studied by geographical research requires applying such methods which allow describing the state of affairs and ongoing changes in the best possible way. This study aims to present a model of research on selected aspects of the dynamics and structure of socio-economic development. The idea was to determine whether we deal with the process of reducing or widening the differences in terms of individual features. The article primarily pursues a methodological goal, and to a lesser extent an empirical one. The methodological objective of the paper was to propose and verify a multi-aspect approach to the study of development processes. The analyses carried out reveal that in terms of the features taken into account in the set of 24 of the largest Polish cities the dominating processes are those increasing differences between cities, which are unfavourable in the context of the adopted development policies aiming at reducing the existing disparities. In relation to the methodological objective, the results of the conducted research confirm the rationale of the application of the measures of dynamics and the feature variance to determine the character (dynamics and structure) of the socio-economic development process of cities. Comparatively less effective, especially for interpretation, is the application of principal component analysis and a multivariate classification, which is mainly the result of differences in the variance of particular features.

Open access
Pasteloza – refurbishing of the PPR heritage

Abstract

Colourful zigzags, arcade game motifs, geometric figures, pseudo-frames of windows and even infantile drawings of flora and fauna – those are just some of the visible symptoms of the aesthetical and urbanistic chaotic condition also known as Polish pasteloza. One of the most common readings is that the excuse of thermal insulation is being (ab)used in order to radically erase the urbanistic, cultural and political heritage of Polish People’s Republic (PPR) from the city landscape. On the other hand, inhabitants of ‘pastelized’ housing estates claim to be satisfied not only with the insulation but also with their role in decision-making processes. A sense of alienation from one’s home seems to have gone away, together with the centralized state administration, and it is being replaced by citizen participation. The possibility of vindication of pasteloza’s ‘crimes against aesthetics’ will be deliberated in this paper – in order to pave a path for more complex understanding of this phenomenon that could offer a solution for achieving a compromise between aesthetics and civic participation in post-transition processes.

Open access
Regeneration of a historic city block: the example of the relocation of the historic Atelier building to the cloister area of the Congregation of the Resurrection in Krakow

Abstract

The article discusses a project that features the relocation of the historic Atelier building, built by Krakow-based architect Wandalin Beringer (1839–1923) who was active in the early twentieth century, and the regeneration of a plot belonging to the Congregation of the Resurrection since 1885, which is located at 12 Łobzowska Street in Krakow. The method includes cutting the entire structure off at the foundation and then after reinforcing it with a steel structure transporting it in its entirety to the new location. The project included two possible variants of moving the building in a straight line, either by 21 or 59 metres and evaluates two projects of further regeneration, the adaptive reuse of the building as an exhibition and religious space as well as a proposal for the remodelling of the nearby plot that belongs to the Congregation into a space for meditation and as a recreational park. The aim of these measures is to prevent the demolition of this building, now over a century old, as a result of which a forgotten element of the cultural heritage of the city will be saved. This project was based on the results of analyses of the cultural and historical conditions of Krakow. The block of buildings in which the Atelier in question is located is a very attractive location, near to the very centre of Krakow, adjacent to residential, service and educational buildings. It is directly adjacent to the Monastery Complex of the Congregation of the Resurrection, listed as a heritage building under conservation protection (municipal registry of heritage buildings). In the second half of the twentieth century, the building was used as a workroom by artists such as Xawery Dunikowski and later by the sculptress Teodora Stasiak. The case of the Atelier may provide an inspiration for discussion as well as raising awareness among citizens and city authorities to avoid future situations in which cultural heritage may become forgotten or demolished.

Open access
Revitalizing urban revitalization in Poland: Towards a new agenda for research and practice

Abstract

As a starting point, this paper recognizes the key role of the notion of ‘revitalization’ in the development of the multi-sectoral approach to urban renewal in Poland over the last 15 years. Thus, while acknowledging the important limitations of revitalization programs to date, it aims not so much to reject or criticize the current model revitalization, but rather to ‘revitalize’ the notion of revitalization itself. Based both on interviews with engaged practitioners of revitalization in Poland and on a review of practices existing elsewhere, this paper seeks to infuse the Polish imaginary of revitalization with transformative policy agendas.

Open access
The rhetoric and reality of public participation in planning

Abstract

While the principle of public participation is an acknowledged requirement of planning in most Western countries there is continuing debate, and insufficient empirical evidence, on the effectiveness of public participation in practice. This research examines the power of public participation in local planning in Scotland. The paper first identifies the principal actors in the development planning process. The institutional framework for planning in Scotland is then explained to establish the legislative and procedural context for a case study analysis of conflict between developers and the local community in a village in the metropolitan green belt. Thirdly, using a combination of analysis of planning documents, interviews with local planners and developers, and a survey of village residents the empirical study provides detailed insight on the principles, practice, and problems for public participation in local planning. This is followed by a critique of recent government initiatives to enhance public engagement in planning. Finally, a number of conclusions are presented on the prospects for more effective public participation in planning. While the empirical focus of the research is on Scotland, the findings are of general relevance for the debate over the rhetoric and reality of public participation in Western society.

Open access
How Does Place Matter to Highly Skilled Migrants?
Work/non-work experiences of international physicians in Norway and Sweden

Abstract

The article tackles the question of how place matters to migrant physicians in the regions of Agder in Norway and Skåne in Sweden by exploring how place-specific conditions affect their experiences in the work, private, family and social domains of life. For this purpose, the article uses thematic analysis of the narrative material gathered through 25 semi-structured interviews. The lens of work/non-work domains, combined with a practice-oriented approach to place, highlights the complexity of lived experiences as they evolve in a particular context. Three main findings are identified: the non-homogenous significance of place across life domains, the vital role of transborder connections and obligations that affect individual and family resources for work/non-work negotiations in the place of settlement and the limits to the skill-based privileges in the place of settlement, which are notable in the domain of work but not replicated in non-work domains.

Open access
Climate change threats to a floral wedding: Threats of shifting phenology to the emerging South African wedding industry

Abstract

Wedding tourism is a fast emerging niche market both globally and in South Africa, as destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular. Wedding industries across the world, and specifically in South Africa, are increasingly dependent on the natural environment. Wedding venues with floral gardens, farms, orchards or forests are particularly popular. Beyond the venue, flowers are important for the bouquets and decoration, with popular blooms changing year on year. Shifting phenology – the timing of annually recurrent biological events – has been identified as one of the most sensitive responses to climate change. This poses a threat to the sustainability of floral wedding venues and the floral industry relating to weddings. This exploratory study utilizes an interdisciplinary mixed-method approach to record the importance of flowers in South African weddings and the perceived threats of climate change to this subsector. The respondents reveal the importance of flowers and the outdoors in both symbolism and the enjoyment of the wedding day, and had organised their wedding date to align with flowering. Destinations highlight a lack of awareness regarding phenological threats and are relatively unperturbed about the threats of climate change. Comparison to global phenological shifts reveals that these are misplaced. There is, therefore, a need for such wedding venues to adopt adaptive strategies to preserve their environment which drives wedding tourism.

Open access