Academic journal article Journal of Economics & Management

Typology of Towns in the Peripheries of Polish Coastal Regions: Conclusions for Urban Policy

Academic journal article Journal of Economics & Management

Typology of Towns in the Peripheries of Polish Coastal Regions: Conclusions for Urban Policy

Article excerpt

Introduction

The areas outside metropolitan areas are called peripheries. A common phenomenon is the big difference in levels of development, especially between metropolitan areas and areas beyond. There is also the following paradoxical phenomenon:

* Natural increase in population is negative in big cities, which are the poles of development and growth for the demand for labor.

* Natural increase in population is positive in peripheries, especially in the countryside, where there is a lack of jobs and economic development factors.

The logical consequence of the above should be migration from peripheral areas, especially from rural to metropolitan areas. However, there are at least two barriers being faced in Poland: housing and mentality - the reluctance to emigrate. There are some advantages: excessive emigration would result in 'leaching' development factors: migration of active, better educated people, which reduces the opportunities for development of peripheral areas. Therefore, there is a need for regional development policy in these areas.

A lack of development factors in peripheries become barriers for development. To overcome these barriers interventions are needed as a part of the regional policy. An urban policy is also needed, because some towns can contribute to the development of peripheries. The following is a basis for argument:

* In towns there are few development factors, and it is easier to create new ones.

* Towns develop their own central functions.

* In towns it is easier to localize the majority of new investments because:

- it is easier to extend existing infrastructure than create new,

- towns have existing and easily available workforces,

- it is easier to get new staff from outside to the city.

* There is usually better accessibility to towns than to villages (Soltys 2011).

The subject of this paper is a typology of towns within the peripheries of Polish coastal regions. This typology was prepared as part of the research conducted in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Architecture, Technical University of Gdansk. The theme of the research is "Cities in the activation of peripheral areas, based on the example of the northern Polish regions".

The purposes of the typology were:

* Recognition of the diverse role of towns in the regional development,

* Creation of the basis for the planning of urban and regional policy.

* Examination of the usefulness of the typology based on data from public statistics (Local Data Bank of Central Statistical Office) for regional and urban policy planning.

For implementation purposes mentioned above, two kinds of systematization were applied:

* Quantitative typology applying Principal Components Analysis (PCA) and the cluster analysis using the k-means algorithm.

* Qualitative classifications.

For quantitative typology, only data from the Central Statistical Office and the statistical offices in voivodships were used. For one third of towns with less than 5 thousand inhabitants, the number of employed persons in some sectors of the economy are not published due to statistical confidentiality. For this reason, the research was limited to towns with more than 5 thousand inhabitants.

Typologies of many sets of Polish towns were prepared, but most of them for other regions and before the year 2000. For the northern Polish regions (among them the coastal regions) the typology was prepared by the author of this paper (Soltys 2010); but only for the little towns and without PCA. PCA and cluster analysis are used, among others, for typology of towns and regions (Crescendi, Rodrígues-Pose 2011; Shepherd 2009). In this method a large number of related variables are transformed to a smaller set of uncorrelated variables (Jackson 1991). Cluster analysis is the preferred generic term for procedures which seek to uncover groups of data (Everitt et al. …

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