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Abstract

Eastern regions of Poland are regarded as areas where numerous unfavourable socio-economic phenomena appear and accumulate. These are the results of historical conditions as well as post-war border localization and various processes, primarily in terms of economy. The consequences of the political transformation of the state in the 1990s and profound social and economic changes in recent decades are also crucial drivers of many disadvantageous changes in the region. The article shows population processes which can be recognized nowadays in Eastern Poland, and the attention of the authors is focused on the peripheral rural areas of the region. General tendencies reported in the text are based on the cases from the Lubelskie Voivodeship where concentration of the demographic and social problems is particularly noticeable. The analyses comprise changes of population growth and its components (natural movement and migration), population structures as well as some characteristics concerning the quality and conditions of inhabitants’ lives. The main causes of negative processes shaping the population, including domestic, regional and micro-regional factors, are also presented. The final part of the article deals with the most important outcomes of population changes which are reflected in the progressing ageing of society, the decline of villages and social infrastructure, among other facts. These unfavourable phenomena are shown in the context of the future development of the region.

Abstract

The aim of the paper is to identify the main factors and mechanisms behind the development of low-emission public transport vehicles in Polish cities. This innovation is primarily connected with growing environmental requirements for transport, with the EU environmental and transport policies being the key factors. However, strategies of local governments and municipal transport companies as well as the organization of urban transport - which differs significantly between cities - also play an important role. Three basic types of approach towards low-emission buses can be observed in Polish cities: tests of electric and hybrid vehicles, purchases of small quantities of buses in order to implement new solutions, and finally attempts to replace the majority or even the entire transport fleet with low-emission vehicles. It should be emphasised that an important element which affects the development of low emission public urban transport in Poland is the fact that the country has become one of the main bus producers in Europe - a fact which is a result of both large-scale foreign investments and the success of Polish manufacturers.

Abstract

Local economic development agencies (LEDAs) are increasingly important actors in place-based local economic development particularly in the global South. In South Africa there has been an expanded role for LEDAs in terms of the policy significance of local economic development. Although considerable research has been undertaken concerning the merits, challenges and contributions of LED in South Africa only limited material is available concerning the institutional and organisational arrangements to support the implementation of LED. Using policy documents, close engagement with the key national policy-making government departments and a national survey of the activities, operational challenges, and institutional constraints facing LEDAs, the findings from this investigation provide new insight into their role in place-based development. From the unfolding South African experience the strategic establishment of LEDAs potentially can contribute to maximizing the efficiency of place-based strategies. Arguably, key findings confirm the important contribution that LEDAs can make to locality development in the global South albeit that contribution is influenced by context realities.

Abstract

The article presents the results of research devoted to comparing accessibility in terms of theoretical and real travel times by car at inter-regional, intra-regional and intra-urban scales. The research strives to achieve three types of aim. The methodological aim is to assess the suitability of the data for research into transport geography, in particular with regard to accessibility. This objective also focuses on developing a method for acquiring and processing source data from suppliers. The cognitive goal is to analyse the spatial differentiation of theoretical and real travel times at different spatial scales. In terms of application, the focus is on the use of real travel time data for transport planning. Data on theoretical travel times includes the author’s own calculations based on analyses whose key assumption is that cars move on a road network at the maximum speeds allowed by the law with all other variables being excluded. The other source of data (on real travel times) is the Distance Matrix Response provided by Google Maps APIs. Due to methods such as isochrones and cumulative accessibility it was concluded that data obtained from Google servers is highly useful for research into transport geography, including time accessibility analyses. The patterns presented here however cannot be treated uncritically or used for unrestricted analysis. With regard to the cognitive goal, it should be emphasized that spatial variations in travel differences, resulting from theoretical and real variants for journeys between regional cities in Poland, between settlement units within one region, or within one of its large cities, are heterogeneous depending on the nature and length of the journey. Therefore, depending on the spatial extent of analysis, divergences in travel times should be expected.

Abstract

The paper focuses on the evaluation of some aspects of the spatial organization of economic development of regions in the V4 countries after their accession to the EU. It focuses on the confirmation or confutation of the application of two principles of spatial organization based on the context of polarization theories, namely the polarity between western and eastern regions (i.e. the West–East gradient) and the polarity between the capital and other regions of the country (i.e. the national metropolitan gradient) at national and supranational levels. In the evaluation of the spatial polarity, the remoteness of various regions of the V4 countries from the economic core area (the Blue Banana, respectively the capital of the country) acts as the independent variable, whereby two economic indicators, i.e. the average monthly wage and the unemployment rate were chosen as the dependent variables. The analysis showed that on the supranational scale of the research in the monitored period, the increase of spatial polarisation was recorded. The increasing role of the West–East gradient and declining role of the national metropolitan gradient in the dynamics of spatial polarity has also been confirmed. The analysis has not confirmed the scale shift of polarity according to the West–East gradient to the national level, but at the same time it has pointed out the significant influence of the national metropolitan gradient in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary at this assessment level.

Abstract

This paper assesses the prospective contribution of social-ecological resilience thinking in advancing a theory of ‘ordinary’ cities. Building on the hierarchical divide that continues to prescribe analyses and representations of cities in urban studies, the paper suggests that, while ideologically contentious, the conceptual configuration of resilience thinking, promoted essentially through notions of uncertainty, diversity and transformation, shows considerable potential for interdisciplinary research. While remaining cautious about its analytical thresholds, applying the framework as it emerges from its ecological niche suggests that resilience thinking can, alongside other concepts, play a part in creating an enabling environment for broadening the way communities, neighbourhoods and institutions that form and connect cities across the globe are understood, studied and represented in urban theory; allowing us to recognise all cities and their citizens as relatable and ‘ordinary’.

Abstract

The condition of the environment is one of the most fundamental concerns of cities worldwide, especially when high levels of pollution and environmental destruction exert immense impact on people’s quality of life. This paper focuses on Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, which often tops the charts as the world’s most polluted city. Despite associated problems such as congestion, ill health, and premature death, Macedonia’s scarce resources are instead spent on controversial projects, such as ‘Skopje 2014’, involving creating a national identity through massive and extremely costly constructions of neo-classical government buildings, museums and monuments. The aim of this paper is to compare the situation of Skopje to environmentally oriented activities conducted in several Polish cities and to discuss the possibility of their implementation in Skopje. Considering the scale and scope of Skopje’s environmental problems, the paper offers some priorities for action, including solutions that emphasize institution building, technical input and self-governance. It also highlights a number of economic, ecological, and socio-cultural contradictions involved in the process of achieving sustainable development.

Abstract

In built environment design, codes set minimum health and safety requirements, policies set aspirational targets, and incentives such as green building rating schemes set design standards. These approaches have failed to provide universal well-being and environmental justice (i.e. intra-generational equity), or increases in the natural life-support system that exceed depletion rates (i.e. inter- generational equity). Governments that do not ensure all citizens can obtain basic needs, life quality and resource security fail to meet their basic responsibilities. Two recent documents, one representing sustainable urban policy and principles, the other representing urban biodiversity standards, are examined against the Positive Development Test (whether the development increases the public estate, ecological base and future public options). The discussion suggests that contemporary policies and incentive schemes, as presently conceived, cannot provide the basic physical preconditions for sustainability, let alone address socio-economic inequities. An alternative design-based approach is presented to address the issues the paper identified.