Academic journal article Journal of Economics & Management

Spatial Aspects of Housing Policy Transformation in Poland after 1989 - Example from Lodz

Academic journal article Journal of Economics & Management

Spatial Aspects of Housing Policy Transformation in Poland after 1989 - Example from Lodz

Article excerpt

Introduction

Housing development took very different forms in different countries because their political cultures, institutional and subsidy structures, housing stocks and the history of housing policies are substantially varied. Policies were pursued within highly differentiated social and economic contexts and with very different consequences (Forrest, Williams 2001). In most societies, housing is available both according to need (in areas where housing provision is an element of social policy) and according to ability to pay (where hosing policy is more directly geared to market principles) (Johnston et al. 2000) From an European perspective, it would appear that housing policy over much of the past century has been concerned with the legacy of the rapid urban growth of the 19th and 20th century. In the interwar Europe, any commitments to substantial direct state intervention in housing were generally limited and short-lived (Forrest, Williams 2001). Liberal economics dominated, housing programmes aimed at poor households were small-scale and alternative models of provision were of the self-help and cooperative variety (Harloe 1995). After the Second World War, however, governments were confronted with massive housing shortages (almost a fifth of the housing stock in Europe had been destroyed), required state intervention in housing provision in a variety of areas, particularly in the supply of low cost public rental housing (Forrest, Williams 2001).

After the end of the Second World War also the CEE countries initially had to concentrate on repairing far-reaching wartime damage of the housing stock, which was extremely severe in Poland (Donner 2006). In the period of centrally planned economy (1945-1989), the development of housing in Poland was triggered by intensive industrialization and rapid urbanization. Heavy industry received the highest priority in Polish long-term economic planning, while housing policy initially played a very minor role (Donner 2006) - that is why housing shortage became a salient feature of big cities. Dwellings were in constant demand there also due to high net natural growth and a rapid inflow of new inhabitants, particularly from the rural areas (they were looking for jobs in the newly built factories). Finally, provision of new flats was not spread evenly across the country - flats were usually constructed by state-owned enterprises for their workers and new constructions were mostly confined to rapidly developing areas. As in the other CEE states a way to decrease the housing shortage was a mass production of standardized housing units built of prefabricated concrete panels.

The far-reaching transformation of the housing sector occurred in the Eastern Europe in the early 1990s - the transfer of the ownership of properties to individuals or non-state sector organizations has been seen as pivotal to more fundamental processes of social and economic change (Turner, Hegedus, Tosics 1992). One of the basic problems confronting the transitional economies of Eastern Europe in this context has been the lack of developed mechanisms to enable a housing market to take root (Forrest, Williams 2001). After the demise of socialism in Poland, the previous regulations of housing investment process were changed. The new laws and institutions (e.g. the 1990 Local Government Act reinstating local government in Poland) were introduced and those new arrangements strongly influenced the development of housing. The housing reform in the 1990s involved withdrawal of the State from the financing of housing construction, communalization of flats belonging to the State and state-owned companies, abolition of the monopoly of cooperatives in housing construction, creation of Public Housing Associations, introduction of housing allowances for low income households, and creation of new forms of financing housing construction (Uchman, Adamski 2003, Milewska, Ogrodowczyk 2006). Currently, the State does not participate directly in the housing development process - it is one of local government responsibilities. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.