Small and Medium-Sized Towns (TOWN)

Date: 2012-11-02 - 2013-06-30

Supervisor in IGSO PAS: Magdalena Górczyńska

Contractors: Jerzy Bański, Konrad Czapiewski, Magdalena Górczyńska

Acronym: TOWN
Program: ESPON
Leading partner: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven - Belgium
Foreign partner: Cities Research Center, University of the West of England, UK Faculty of Tourism and Geography (FTG), University 'Rovira i Virgili', Spain Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic Department of Planning, University of Tours - Franc
Orderer institution: Komisja Europejska
Official Web Site

The main objective of this project is to create a methodology to identify small and medium-sized towns. This methodology should be compatible with the recently revised urbanisation classification at EU scale identifying all small and medium-sized towns as places having an urban centre with a population between 5 000 and 50 000 inhabitants.

In addition the project will provide evidence on the roles and functions that small and medium sized towns perform taking into account the different territorial contexts, which range from being nearby to a much larger urban centre to having a sparsely populated rural hinterland. The conditions for development and the functions that the small and medium-sized towns perform in these territorial contexts are significantly different. How can these different territorial contexts be taken into account and what is the relevant functional area of a small or medium-sized town?

Finally the project will assess the different governance and cooperation arrangements used in ESPON countries to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of public policies and public services. In particular, policies aimed to increase critical mass, which range from promoting cooperation between local authorities to the merger of small local authorities, should be considered in this study.

OUTCOMES

The main result of the case study concerning Poland was twofold. Firstly, the quantitative analyses adopting the data mainly about the commuting flows and the number of jobs, allowed determining the urban centres in the Mazovia region and then positioning them according to their territorial arrangements. Within the project, three types of territorial arrangements were considered: agglomerated, autonomous, and networked. Secondly, after having conducted qualitative studies in the three case study small towns in Mazovia (Garwolin, Łosice and Szydłowiec), representing each of the abovementioned territorial arrangements, the conclusions were drawn about their territorial performance as well as about the local development policies adopted. The general conclusions concerned the policy recommendations for small and medium sized towns.

The outcomes of the ESPON TOWN project will be soon published on the website: http://www.espon.eu/main/Menu_Projects/Menu_AppliedResearch/town.html

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