The article addresses the question of the emergence of urban centres with a gateway function in the area of contemporary Poland. The work concentrates on three urban centres – Mysłowice, Szczakowa and Granica (Maczki) – which gateway function was conditioned by the existence of railway border crossings in the past that provided services for international transport. The interpretation of settlements and their transformations followed the town plan analysis includes method of Conzen. The article indicates spatial consequences of this kind of function which influenced a significant part of the urban area in the indicated towns. The study highlights the dynamics of spatial changes contemporarily conditioned by the loss of the former gateway function and a fact that role of the border has been marginalized. From the other point of view the decreasing role of the political borders which have become in Europe in most cases barely a symbolic meaning. In the presented case studies the key aspect determining the marginalization of their role in the rail transport system and also their urban development was the change of the political borders and their negative consequences (demolition post-rail areas, formation of functionally derelict areas or depopulation). Former glory and role of these three towns are the still existing railway stations. Fortunately, presented railway stations – their potential and heritage give new possibilities for ideas of functional changes and future development.
The problem of using the concept of post-industrialism to define regions with traditional industries is addressed in this article. It focuses on the diversity of industrial development in the Katowice conurbation (Poland) and the difficulties of situating the region in the widely-used taxonomy by Phelps and Ozawa, which assumes a one-way transition from the late-industrial to post-industrial stage. The authors point to the fact that only some of the towns can be described as post-industrial, since there are also towns in which traditional industries continue to develop relatively well and others at an advanced stage of re-industrialisation. The proposal is made that the Katowice conurbation can be described as a “trans-industrial region” in order to account for the various stages of development in the industrial sector in the towns of the conurbation, and to underline the dynamic nature and temporal variability of the industrialisation factor in the region.
Poverty and social exclusion remain some of the biggest concerns in the face of obtaining social sustainability. In this respect, the continuing immense spatial differences between individual localities of seemingly similar characteristics have puzzled social scientists for decades. In quest for a better understanding, this article highlights the role of spatial heterogeneity as a factor conducive to the formation of functionally derelict areas, which in turn play a crucial role in the formation of spatial mismatch. Using two case studies from Poland, one from a big city and one from a small village, we explore the relationality between the phenomena of spatial heterogeneity, functional dereliction and spatial mismatch, whose mutual reinforcement seems to lead to a specific kind of deprivation in terms of scale and intensity. Special attention is paid to the role of spatial heterogeneity, which under certain conditions is capable of changing from being a developmental stimulant to becoming a destimulant. We argue that taking greater account of the intricate historical contexts responsible for the resistance of some pressing socio-economic problems is key to breaking the deadlock in the implementation of ineffective sustainability policies.
The increasing number of wastelands in East-central European countries is primarily a consequence of functional transformations and movements in the structure of employment. Taking into account such a challenge in this article, the authors propose an approach in which the basic category is a typological proposal with reference to areas with derelict functions, which in turn refers to research within the scope of human geography. In their methodological proposal, the authors consider such variables as: (i) the diversification of management and use of space; (ii) time; (iii) economic functions; and (iv) the scope of geographic research. The effect of including these variables is an attempt to dynamically depict the evolution of land use, with particular attention paid to wasteland: original state - transitional state (derelict areas) - present state. The typological depiction of the emergence and transformation of areas with derelict functions is presented for the case of Sosnowiec.
This paper deals with the ways of categorising landscapes as ‘urban’ and ‘rural’ using a physicalist approach, where these terms have special meaning. The aim of this paper is to elaborate on the question whether such a division is still meaningful with regard to anthropogenic landscapes, not least in spatial planning. The concerns raised in this paper depart from the increasingly complicated structure of geographical space, including that of anthropogenic landscapes. Our standpoint is illustrated using cases of landscape ambiguities from Poland, Germany, Romania and Greece. Leaning on frameworks of physicalist (mechanicistic) theory, this paper suggests an explanation to the outlined semantic conflicts. This is done by pointing to the relationality between the impact of centripetal and centrifugal forces, the specifics of socio-economic development, as well as the varying landscape forms that emerge from the differences within that development.