Delimitacja Miejskich Obszarów Funkcjonalnych stolic województw

April 2013
Przeglad Geograficzny;2013, Vol. 85 Issue 2, p173
Academic Journal
The paper outlines the premises, methodology and conditions underpinning an effort to delimit Functional Urban Areas (FUAs) around the capitals of the Polish voivodships (province-regions). This follows on from an applied-science study prepared by the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization of the Polish Academy of Sciences for the Ministry of Regional Development, within the framework of the National Spatial Development Concept 2030 (NSDC 2030). In line with NSDC 2030, the overall strategic objective of delimiting a FUA is to build a foundation for a better, more rational and efficient development policy within areas with coherent organisation and functioning of socio-economic systems. This reflects the fact that most existing delimitation studies derive from local government and spatial planning authorities, and as such have proved inadequate for the purposes of a development policy at national level, having been developed independently of one another, to specifications, definitions and criteria diverse enough to make any comparisons problematic. With a view to this issue being addressed more adequately, a first priority was to develop a method that would ensure comparability, while also taking account of the specificity of different areas. The study adopted a definition of the Functional Urban Area as the spatially coherent hinterland around a city. The analysis was performed for 18 cities with administrative functions as regional capitals. It was assumed that a Functional Urban Area would consist of a core, mostly single, but sometimes double, plus the periphery thereof. A core would constitute a regional capital and other large urban areas selected (the Gdańsk-Gdynia-Sopot "Tri-City" or Trójmiasto and the Upper Silesian Conurbation), as well as any town enjoying county-level "poviat" status (middle-tier administrative division). The Polish gmina (local-level unit of administration) was adopted as the basis for delimitation, since the sizes and socioeconomic potentials (when set against large city hinterlands) were such as to offer the degree of variability essential in either including units into an FUA or excluding them from it. Furthermore, the legal mandate of the gmina is such as to correspond with potential needs as regards an area's territorial organisation and management. A third consideration is that gminas tend to be relatively compact and functionally cohesive, this making a plausible case for their being regarded as relatively homogeneous nodal microregions. In practical terms, gminas are also the smallest territorial units in Poland for which a minimum set of statistics useful in delimitation is available. The following types of delimitation principles were adopted: administrative (differentiations and locations of core and peripheral areas), topological (the condition of coherence and separateness of gminas) and the meeting of a certain number of criteria. Seven indicators of delimitation were adopted, covering functional links and socio-economic and morphological features. These included: 1) commutes to employment in the FUA core (first used in delimitations on post-1989 data); 2) migrations (registered residence) out of the FUA core; 3) the percentage of non-agricultural occupations; 4) the ratio of number of enterprises to population; 5) the share of all economic entities engaged in higher-order services; 6) population density (in areas excluding forests and bodies of water); and 7) dwellings commissioned for use as set against size of population. The resulting delimitation extends to 299 gminas, including 33 of a core nature and 266 that are more peripheral. The total area is of 32,600 km² (including 4700 km² in core areas), while the population involved is 14.1 million (9.6 million in core areas). This delimitation study proposes a minimum territorial extent of Functional Urban Areas, which could be extended by the regional authorities in justified cases. Such decisions might involve the indicators proposed in the study, especially their minimum values, but also other important circumstances relating to the spatial organisation and internal structure of such FUAs. A further delimitation of the extent of external areas and the differentiation between core areas and their surroundings could encompass detailed conditions linked to existing and/or future conditions, including transport networks, location of important socio-economic nodes, trends in the development of the settlement network, etc. The overriding objective should be to achieve optimum delimitation for the purposes of spatial cohesion, socio-economic efficiency and quality of life.


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