Cities are areas characterised by a considerable concentration of people, buildings, infrastructure facilities as well as a high intensity of human activity (Słodczyk 2001). As forms of settlement they have a long history of growth taking place in different political, economic and social conditions in a given country or region. Factors affecting the organisation of urban space also include conditions of the natural environment as well as the state of construction technology and the prevailing benchmark convergent with the assumptions of the given period (Koter 1974).
The aforementioned conditioning factors make cities multi-element complex forms of settlement undergoing constant transformation. Long-lasting and varied settlement processes manifest themselves in their space. The factors indicated are also a reason for the differentiation of city size and shape, the types of development and the way that space is planned in urban areas (Koter 1974). Cities may be analysed in a number of aspects with regard to the specificity of their appearance and functioning.
Studies on the spatial structure of cities are characterised by quite well developed theoretical foundations and refer to a rather vast scope of topics. This was conditioned by a multi-dimensional and complex process of spatial development of cities manifesting itself in transformations of their spatial layouts, a variety of functions as well as territorial expansion (Mydel 1979). This is why the problem of city spatial structure is of interest to many scientific disciplines, such as geography, city planning, sociology, demography or economics (Jelonek & Werwicki 1971). Including demographic, social and economic phenomena in the studies on spatial layouts of cities and their morphology is reflected in the elaborate definitions of the notion of the spatial structure of the urban centre.
The point of departure for reflections on the subject of urban spatial structure is the explanation of the very notion of “structure”. According to the definition by the PWN Polish Dictionary, it is “a layout and mutual relations of elements forming a whole; the whole is composed in a way of individual elements” (Słownik językapolskiego PWN).
A. Werwicki made a reference to the complex layout (1973: 8), pointing out that the spatial structure of the city includes the “overlapping and mutual impact of layouts of distribution of different types of human activity and relevant fixed facilities as well as layouts of distribution of the population and residential development analysed against the background of the historically shaped spatial layout of the city (…)”. As the author stresses, one may not treat city spatial structures as unchangeable and finally formed. They should be examined as an indicator of individual stages of development, being merely a certain transitional state since cities undergo constant transformation under the influence of human activity (Werwicki 1973).
W. Budner is another author who highlights the distribution of individual types of human activity in the topic of city spatial structure (2004: 115). He defined this notion as “the distribution of the function on the city area defined through allocation of land use and their development type”. The interpretation of spatial structure focuses, according to Budner, mainly on the economic aspect. The characteristics of cities in spatial terms are accomplished, above all, in accordance with three criteria: morphological, functional as well as social and demographic. The definition presented is based on the functional criterion. The author stresses the significance of relations and connections between types of human activity in the city, which is of vital importance when taking locational decisions.
In turn, P. Korcelli (1974: 78) concluded on the basis of an analysis of the concept and models of functional layouts that “the city’s spatial structure is composed of a set of overlapping layouts (including layouts of places of work, residence, shopping, leisure, social contacts and other matters) corresponding to the basic spheres of human life and activity”. He also stated that the mutual interaction of these layouts creates the city’s spatial form, and that changes in one of them result in transformations of the remaining ones.
The substantive extent of the notion of the city spatial structure is therefore so wide that researching it consists of analysis of the following planes (Słodczyk 2001: 18):
- –the city morphology including the city spatial layout as well as its appearance and origins;
- –the demographic and spatial structure of the city consisting of an analysis of population density within the city and the distribution of the population in accordance with demographic features;
- –the social and spatial structure of the city which concerns the distribution of social groups in the city and living conditions in individual parts of the city;
- –the functional and spatial structure of the city with regard to the distribution of individual functions within the city and the structure of urban land use.
The function of the place of residence is an elementary function of the city, which translates itself into a high proportion of residential development in its structure. It assumes different forms which are dependent on a variety of factors, such as its location in the given region of the world, the natural environment, housing tradition or the location in the city (Słodczyk 2001).
It should be remembered that cities are inhomogeneous urban organisms in which different periods of their development overlap. This is reflected in the varied appearance of the development in its individual parts. The character of buildings changes together with distance from the city centre: the farther from it, the less urban the development becomes, gradually shifting to rural housing both within the city boundaries and outside them (Liszewski 1978).
In the Polish literature, the problem of residential areas has been widely discussed. Block settlements (as one of the examples of multi-family housing) were dealt with by M. Czepczyński (1999) inter alia. In addition, works related to housing conditions can be found in Polish literature (Dzieciuchowicz 1976, 1980, 2007a, 2007b, 2011; Dzieciuchowicz, Stolarczyk & Suliborski 1972; Kaczmarek 1996). In turn, the subject matter discussed in this article regarding the distribution and intensity of housing development was examined in relation to Łódź by J. Dzieciuchowicz (2002, 2005). The spatial structure of residential housing was discussed by K. Milewska (2008).
Traditionally residential areas have been surveyed in the framework of land use (Alonso 1964; Muth 1969; Liszewski 1978; Buttimer 1980). Urban spatial structure was also studied by W. C. Wheaton (1974), M. Clarke & A. G. Wilson (1983), A. Anas, R. Arnott & K. A. Small (1998), J. Wu & A. J. Plantinga (2003), J. Kotus (2006); B. Lee (2007), S. Marcińczak (2007). Post-communist urban development (especially residential development) was presented by L. Sýkora (1999), S. Hirt & K. Stanilov (2007), I. Brade, G. Herfert & K. Wiest (2009). There is also a rich literature presenting the mechanisms of the centrally planned system of allocation of resources, which influenced the production of spatial structures in socialist cities (French & Hamilton 1979; Smith 1989; Węcławowicz 1992; Sýkora 1999; Bertaud 2006).
The primary aim of this article is to classify residential development according to its horizontal and vertical intensity in the main cities in each of the Polish provinces. In addition, the distribution of individual types of residential development is assessed as exemplified by Warsaw.
In the section which follows, the article presents source materials and the research methods used. Afterwards, the study makes reference to the characteristics of the research area, i.e. provincial capitals in Poland, in the scope of their demographic features as well as quantitative and qualitative variables describing the parcels in each unit. Then the results of the primary research are presented against this background. Features of the horizontal and vertical intensity of the regional cities’ residential development are depicted in tabular form. The cartographic method allowed us, in turn, to show the results of implementation of spatial statistical methods. The paper closes with a conclusion which refers to both the cognitive elements of the analysis and its methodological layer.
Source materials and methods
Data on residential facilities in the cities analysed were obtained from the Polish official geodetic and cartographic databases (państwowy zasób geodezyjny i kartograficzny [PZGiK]) – in particular, Database of Topographic Objects. Layers with parcels come from the LPIS system (the system for identifying agricultural parcels). In turn, data on the number of the population was obtained from the Local Data Bank of the Central Statistical Office of Poland (Bank Danych Lokalnych GUS [BDL GUS]).
Parcels in the cities researched are characterised in accordance with their geometric features. The authors calculated, for instance, the average parcel surface, an indicator of parcel shape differentiation, and an indicator of parcel shape density. In order to measure parcel shape in the provincial capitals, they used measurements of the length of their borders and their surface. Two gauges of this shape were developed by J. Dzieciuchowicz (Dzieciuchowicz & Dmochowska-Dudek 2014). The first one describing shape differentiation is represented by the ratio of the average length of parcel boundaries (dj) to their average surface in the given commune (pj):
The more sections with varied directions the parcel has, the more of its length falls per unit of land surface. Hence the indicator in question increases together with the growing differentiations of parcel shape in the territorial units given.
The other indicator used in the work defines the relation of the average real length of parcel boundaries (dj) in the given commune to the hypothetical length of these parcels Lj, which corresponds to length of circumference of a circle if it had a surface equal to the average real surface of parcels in this commune:
(Dzieciuchowicz & Dmochowska-Dudek 2014: 158) for a circle of average parcel surface in communes j.
The indicator expresses the degree to which the real shape of parcels differs from a circle. Its values increase proportionally to the difference indicated. At the same time this increase reflects a drop in territorial parcel density. It also defines to what degree the average real length of parcel boundary in the given commune differs from the minimum length equal to the length of the circumference corresponding to the average parcel surface of this commune (Dzieciuchowicz & Dmochowska-Dudek 2014).
Moreover, further analysis concerning only residential development in major cities in the Polish provinces uses information on both vertical and horizontal intensity according to the classification proposed by S. Liszewski (1978). He distinguished six degrees of residential housing where I, II and III are used to assess vertical intensity1 and IV, V and VI refer to horizontal intensity2. It looks as follows for residential areas (Liszewski 1978: 21)
- –degrees of vertical intensity:
- low – MNr, MNj, MNw;
- average – MSk, MSb;
- high – MWw;
- –degrees of horizontal intensity:
- IVgreat – compact development;
- Vhigh – loose development;
- VIlow – scattered development.
In turn, the distribution of individual house building types was researched based on the example of Warsaw with the use of centrographic measures. As was indicated by B. Koctrubiec (1972: 27) they were introduced into the literature by E. E. Sviatlovsky & W. C. Eells (1937). With their use the geographic distribution of objects (mainly population) was analysed irrespective of the territorial division employed. They were used, for instance, in the works by I. Jażdżewska (2006), M. Adamiak and T. Napierała (2013) as well as M. Nalej (2014). Centrographic measures used in the distribution analysis include the centre of gravity, standard deviation and standard deviation ellipse.
The first centrographic measure used in the article was the centre of gravity, also referred to as the centroid. It is nothing different than the mean of the coordinates x and y of residential buildings located within the boundaries of the cities analysed analysed cities. Centroids were generated with GIS tools where coordinates of the centroid are calculated according to the formula:
where i x and i y are the object’s coordinates and n denotes the number of objects in the set. Centroids were generated for the set of individual types of residential development in Warsaw.
Furthermore, the article contains an assessment of the spatial differentiation of vertical and horizontal intensity of residential development within the districts of Warsaw surveyed. At this point Getis-Ord statistics were used. Local autocorrelation reveals spatial dependence of the given variable on structures neighbouring it (Getis & Ord 1995; Ord & Getis 2001; Getis 2007). This measure allows one to establish areas of spatial gravity (spatial concentration) of either high or low value of the phenomenon in question (Adamiak, Napierała & Wiśniewski 2013).
Characteristics of the research area
The last administrative reform in Poland was introduced in 1999. It resulted in the division of public authority functions between three main segments of the country’s administrative system: local government (in urban and rural communes as well as in districts) responsible mainly for satisfying the collective needs of local communities; regional government (in provinces) accountable for regional development policy; and government and government administration (central and regional) in charge of issues of a national character as well as observing the law and surveillance over local government (governors), (Kulesza 2000). Currently there are 18 cities at the provincial capital level (rather than 16 – these are the seats of governors and regional assemblies) as in the provinces of Kujawy-Pomerania and Lubuskie the functions of the provincial capital (hereinafter ‘provincial city’) are divided between two centres. The country’s 11 biggest cities have the status of provincial cities with about 300 thousand inhabitants or more (Tab. 1). These cities are quite evenly distributed across the country (Fig. 1). Only Katowice and Kraków are situated next to each other (Zaborowski 2009). The population of the remaining 7 provincial cities range from 100 to 200 thousand (Tab. 1). The units analysed are populated by 7 686 157 people in total, with almost ¼ of them in Warsaw alone.
Residential development in provincial cities in Poland
Source: own study based on BDL GUS and PZGiK data
|City||Number of residential buildings||Total surface [m2]||Average surface [m2]||Surface standard deviation [m2]||Proportion of city area [%]||The number of people per building||Population (2015)|
|Gorzów Wielkopolski||8078||1419212.5||175.7||175.9||1.7||14.8||123 762|
|Warsaw||99579||21336556.1||214.3||313.0||4.1||16.2||1 744 351|
|Zielona Góra||8660||1551085.6||179.1||217.3||0.6||13.9||138 711|
The largest average surface of parcels can be found in Zielona Góra and Szczecin: there are the fewest of them per ha in these two cities. In turn, the smallest average surface area of parcels was recorded in Rzeszów, Białystok, Kraków and Warsaw where there is the biggest number of parcels per ha. This results from, for instance, the high prices in these areas. Besides that, Szczecin is conspicuous for the biggest differentiation of parcels in terms of their surface, which is directly attributable to the presence of Szczecin reservoir waters in the spatial structure (Fig. 2, Fig.3).
The indicator of parcel shape differentiation ranges from 28 in Zielona Góra and Lublin to slightly over 50 in Katowice and Warsaw. Its values depend on the average surface of parcels: they increase when their surface shrinks and they decrease in those cities where parcels tend to be the largest (Fig. 4).
In turn, the indicator of parcel shape density in cities ranges from 2.7 to 3.1 (Fig. 5). Low density is mainly characteristic of parcels located in Warsaw, Kielce and Opole while high density can be found within the boundaries of Gorzów Wielkopolski and Olsztyn.
Within the boundaries of the cities in question there are 536 561 residential buildings. The largest numbers of these are located in Warsaw – 99 579, Kraków – 52 283 and Łódź – 49 505 whereas the smallest numbers are in Gorzów Wielkopolski – 8 078 and Zielona Góra – 8 660. Besides it is precisely in these cities, and additionally in Białystok, that the proportion of the city’s surface covered by housing development is the highest, ranging from 3% to 4.1% (Tab. 1).
As mentioned above, there are 536,561 residential buildings in the study area. The largest number of residential buildings is found in those cities with the largest population: in Warsaw, Kraków, Łódź (Tab. 1). In turn, the smallest number of residential buildings can be found in Gorzów Wielkopolski and Zielona Góra.
In the next stage of the work a typology of residential development was developed based on the city’s vertical and horizontal intensity, according to the classification proposed by S. Liszewski (1978). It was established that low height development up to 10 m prevails in all the cities and that buildings with more than six storeys are the least numerous. The largest share of low height development in the total number of residential buildings was clearly recorded in Rzeszów, Kielce and Zielona Góra (in all these cities the proportion of low height development exceeds 90%). In the case of medium height development, a large percentage can be found in Katowice, Wrocław and Gdańsk corresponding to about 18% in total. In turn, taking into consideration development with the largest number of storeys, Warsaw clearly has the largest share (Tab. 2).
Vertical intensity of residential development in provincial cities in Poland [%]
Source: own study based on PZGiK data
|City||share of the total number of residential buildings||share of internal surface area of buildings||share of the total number of residential buildings||share of internal surface area of buildings||share of the total number of residential buildings||share of internal surface area of buildings|
While characterising residential development in selected cities with regard to horizontal intensity it should be noted that most of these comprise cities with low intensity where development does not exceed 50% of the parcel surface. This mainly concerns such cities as Białystok, Lublin, Bydgoszcz, Kielce and Łódź. High intensity residential development ranging from 50 to 75% of the parcel surface may mainly be found in Rzeszów and concerns as many as 20% of all the parcels analysed. In turn the biggest horizontal intensity within the parcel boundaries is a distinctive feature of Rzeszów, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Gorzów Wielkopolski and Opole (Tab. 3).
Horizontal intensity of residential development in provincial cities in Poland [%]
Source: own study based on PZGiK data
|City||share in the number of all parcels with residential development||share of the surface of all parcels with residential development||share in the number of all parcels with residential development||share of the surface of all parcels with residential development||share in the number of all parcels with residential development||share of the surface of all parcels with residential development|
In order to assess both present and future housing needs, it is important to take into account not only an analysis of factors shaping the housing market but also the demographic situation (Morrison 1977; Nykiel 2011).
The demand to build new places of residence in provincial cities should decrease in the years to come since it is forecast that the number of people of both pre-working and working age will shrink in practically all the cases analysed and consequently there will be a drop in the population of an age to start new households. An increase in the number of the population in those two age groups by 2030 will only be observed in the case of Warsaw where this group is already that with the biggest ratio of people per residential development surface (Tab. 1). A slight increase in the population of pre-working and working age is also forecast for Rzeszów by 2020 (Tab. 4). This is nowadays the city with the lowest number of people per residential development surface.
Number of population in Polish provincial cities according to economic age groups Explanations to the table: 1 – pre-working age, 2 – working age, 3 – retirement age
Source: own study based on PZGiK data
|City||Data as of 2014||Forecast for 2020||Forecast for 2030|
|The number of population according to economic age groups|
|Białystok||50 016||190 212||55 231||49 575||185 824||58 130||45 424||175 718||65 512|
|Bydgoszcz||56 135||221 523||79 994||53 503||209 570||80 677||45 494||191 721||81 346|
|Gdańsk||74 542||285 517||101 430||78 003||276 790||103 026||73 586||270 553||103 121|
|Gorzów Wielkopolski||21 140||77 919||25 086||20 507||74 077||27 119||17 275||70 039||28 653|
|Katowice||43 144||188 581||70 109||42 633||176 310||68 391||36 816||155 596||68 638|
|Kielce||30 890||123 181||44 786||29 291||115 049||45 980||23 949||103 879||46 499|
|Kraków||119 398||478 243||164 232||124 059||469 345||165 816||117 285||462 957||169 065|
|Lublin||55 895||213 308||72 519||53 584||205 138||74 903||45 405||191 879||77 652|
|Łódź||100 275||428 845||176 884||96 094||397 053||175 259||78 773||359 820||168 231|
|Olsztyn||28 770||111 295||33 766||28 348||108 373||35 483||25 756||102 772||38 329|
|Opole||17 692||75 492||26 390||16 879||71 736||27 122||14 109||66 027||27 951|
|Poznań||85 668||339 667||120 345||85 516||321 090||119 457||72 974||299 156||116 096|
|Rzeszów||32 433||118 705||33 985||33 556||117 957||36 415||32 057||117 861||40 853|
|Szczecin||63 012||254 941||89 227||61 381||245 295||91 768||53 768||233 743||94 157|
|Toruń||33 381||128 584||41 193||31 497||122 680||43 036||26 912||114 427||44 891|
|Warsaw||283 370||1 055 936||396 136||311 880||1 042 210||393 956||289 974||1 078 583||386 945|
|Wrocław||96 257||397 974||140 256||102 848||383 209||139 481||98 490||375 152||137 717|
|Zielona Góra||19 961||73 771||25 188||20 144||71 207||26 105||18 687||68 600||27 160|
The final stage of the work consisted in conducting an analysis of the distribution of individual development types as exemplified by Warsaw, Poland’s national capital. It was concluded that the greatest vertical and horizontal intensity mainly develops and becomes concentrated in the city centre (Śródmieście district) and its immediate vicinity (Fig. 6) where the prices of flats per square metre are the highest on the secondary market (Chrzanowska 2011). In contrast, the centre of gravity of low height development and that of low horizontal intensity can be found in the Praga Południe district (Fig. 6).
From analysing the distribution of residential development according to its vertical and horizontal intensity in relation to the registration areas of Warsaw, it should be concluded that the city centre, both in its left- and right-bank parts, is characterised by a clear concentration of high development with great horizontal intensity. This concerns, in particular, the districts of Śródmieście, Mokotów, Ochota, Wola, Żoliborz, Praga Północ and Praga Południe.
In turn the development of areas with low vertical and horizontal intensity refers predominantly to the city’s peripheral areas, i.e. the districts of Wilanów, Wawer, Ursynów (the south-western part of this suburb), Włochy, Bielany (the northern part of this suburb), Białołęka (the northern part of this suburb), Targówek (south-east) as well as Rembertów (Fig. 7, Fig. 8). This mainly results from the property prices in the central areas of Warsaw and the general trend to disperse development on the outskirts. In the case of Warsaw, it was as early as in the 1970s that the scale of housing development in the areas in the central districts was limited and was mainly comprised of extensions to existing development, and precisely as a result of this it began to develop in the direction of the peripheries. Big housing estates were erected in the west (Bemowo), north (Bielany) and north-east (Targówek) of the city. In the following decade dense new areas of intensive development created a radial layout, diverging mainly to the south, south-east and north-west as well as to the north, although to a lesser extent. Since the 1990s, housing development has been moving further away from the centre out to the peripheries. This process has been taking place in a southerly (Ursynów) and westerly (Bemowo) direction. Housing development appeared in the district of Białołęka on the right bank of the River Vistula to the north of Warsaw, which was a new phenomenon. Naturally, the location of new investments on the outskirts of the city has been accompanied by a process of supplementing the development in the centre (Stępniak 2014). It is characteristic of the post-communist city consisting of three to four rings: compact city/inner-city areas, the communist-era housing districts and the suburban periphery (Sýkora 1999; Hirt & Stanilov 2007; Brade, Herfert & Wiest 2009).
The research process conducted permits the formulation of both cognitive and methodological conclusions. As far as the main aim of this article is concerned, it should be pointed out that the classification of housing development in provincial cities in Poland according to horizontal and vertical intensity is characterised by considerable differentiation of the research variables in individual populations. The research devoted to the identification of residential buildings, their surface and shares in the total developed space of provincial cities indicates a considerable volatility of the total surface of the residential buildings (with a volatility coefficient of 86.3%), which, however, does not translate itself into a level of volatility across the total area of the city which slightly exceeds 32%. The average number of people per residential building in provincial cities in Poland tends to be even less variable (14.6%). As for analysis of the height of residential development it is possible to point to one regularity observed; that the taller the development, the bigger differentiation of its number and share in the total surface of residential development. Hence low residential development represents on average about 62% of all residential development and the level of volatility of this share only slightly exceeds 10%. Volatility of the share of average development surface reaches nearly 17%, and that of high development exceeds 47%.
Volatility of horizontal intensity assumes even more extreme changes in value. Parcels of low intensity represent on average almost 95% of all parcels on which there is residential development. Only Rzeszów clearly stands out against this background with its mere 61%. Despite this, the volatility of this feature for all 18 cities does not even reach 9%. The situation is totally different in groups of parcels of high and great horizontal intensity. Here the coefficient of volatility exceeds 150%. It should be stressed, though, that this results exclusively from the large proportion of this type of parcel in Rzeszów. If these extreme results were excluded, volatility would not exceed 50%. The results, therefore, allow one to conclude that while the absolute characteristics of residential development in the biggest Polish cities are very varied, the internal relations between the individual features of this development assume similar proportions. Bearing in mind the handicaps of the measures used, it must be stressed, however, that they present a significant quantity of data in an accessible way.
In the classical understanding, the characteristics of horizontal and vertical intensity of residential development are, to a large extent, aspatial. That is why it is justifiable to look for measures which could make up for this lack. Spatial statistics are very helpful in this respect. This research used centrographic measures and spatial autocorrelation based on the example of Warsaw. It is also the juxtaposition of variables of spatial character and the statistics of development intensity that give a relatively comprehensive picture of the city’s spatial development as far as the residential function is concerned. Their correct interpretation requires, however, knowledge of the functional and spatial structure of each city researched since, as with all average measures, the centre of gravity (and also its weighted version) is very sensitive to extreme values. That is why interpreting them in a direct manner may lead to erroneous conclusions.
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