Robert Szmytkie

Articles

Directions of population change in the largest Polish cities, 1980‑2020

Robert Szmytkie

Przegląd Geograficzny (2022) tom 94, zeszyt 3, pp. 307-325
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/PrzG.2022.3.2

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Abstract:

The main objective of the work detailed here was to identify directions of population change characterising Poland’s largest cities in the years 1980‑2020. The temporal scope of the analysis involves the last decade of the country’s communist era (1980‑1989) and the subsequent period of transition. The cities involved were Warsaw, Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań and Gdańsk.

This paper is analytical and descriptive, with the index method and Webb’s typology deployed. Population change was described in terms of the relative population index and growth rate, while reference was also made to rate of natural increase and migration balance. Webb’s dynamic diagram was used to depict directions of population change, in a modification permitting that change over time to be indicated. Population structure was analysed by identifying “surpluses” in the shares of overall population accounted for by people in particular age groups. This method, approached separately for males and females, makes comparisons – and seeks divergences – with the average shares for population in different age groups noted for Poland as a whole.

It was at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries that situations as regards population in different cities began to diversify markedly, under the influence of changing socio-economic conditions. In this, several population-related sub-periods may be identified. While most cities entered a phase of stagnation following a period of population growth, some also experienced depopulation. While certain cities have experienced marked “improvement” in the situation as regards population more recently, a specific recent issue has been the demographic collapse of 2020, related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As noted already, in the time through to the mid-1980s, Poland’s largest cities were all rather similar in terms of their population trends. Post-1985, however, a period of demographic reconstruction set in, and the trends for the cities began to diversify. The key differences identified relate to the durations of periods of population stagnation, as well as the trends encountered once that stagnation ended. Certain similarities as regards trends for population are noted for such pairs of cities as Warsaw and Kraków, Wrocław and Gdańsk, and Poznań and Łódź.

Figures for both natural increase and migration balance show marked fluctuation in the period under analysis. Natural increase was declining in all of the cities in the 1980s, to a point at which negative values were reached (denoting natural decrease in each city analysed). However, the 2016‑2019 period brought a significant renewed increase in values for natural increase, as reflecting increased birth rate. However, what diversified post-1982 were the trends for migration balance characterising the different cities. Only in Warsaw did the migration balance remain positive through the whole period analysed, though it is also worth noting how all the cities experienced clear increases in values for the migration balance index between 2013 and 2019.

The sub-periods distinguished differ in terms of the factors dominant within population change. In the urbanisation phase, that factor in all of the cities was positive natural increase. The period of reconstruction of the situation as regards population was then characterised by variation in the importance of different factors. Indeed, the current trends for demographic change in each city are linked to one particular factor being dominant. In the cases of cities featuring steady population growth, that factor is a positive migration balance. The situation is more complex in the case of cities currently experiencing depopulation (in Łódź the factor involved is natural decrease, while in Poznań it is a negative migration balance).

The so-called ‘big five’ cities have population “surpluses” vis-à-vis the rest of the country in the same (0‑4, 30‑44 and 65+) age groups. In the case of the population of post-working age, ongoing ageing of the population is indicated, while in the case of the younger age groups the data reflect influxes of migrants into the cities. Against this background, Łódź stands out, with “surpluses” of population shares in the 35‑49 and 60+ age groups among women and the 40‑44 and 65+ age groups for men. These point to Łódź being the Polish city manifesting processes of population ageing to the greatest degree.

Keywords: duże miasta, zmiany ludnościowe, urbanizacja, depopulacja, Polska

Robert Szmytkie [robert.szmytkie@uwr.edu.pl], Uniwersytet Wrocławski, Instytut Geografii i Rozwoju Regionalnego

Territorial development of large cities in Poland

Robert Szmytkie

Przegląd Geograficzny (2020) tom 92, zeszyt 4, pp. 499-520 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/PrzG.2020.4.3

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Abstract:

Głównym celem opracowania była identyfikacja procesu rozrostu terytorialnego dużych miast w Polsce na przykładzie Wrocławia, Krakowa i Warszawy. Analiza zmian granic administracyjnych miasta, zmian gęstości zaludnienia oraz rozwoju zabudowy wykazała pewną specyfikę rozrostu terytorialnego dużych miast oraz podobieństwo procesów osadniczych w różnych okresach historycznych. Pozwoliło to na identyfikację określonych prawidłowości rozwoju, które z uwagi na ich powtarzalność, wskazują na cykliczny charakter procesów. Specyfikę rozrostu przestrzennego dużych miast można wyrazić w następujący sposób: każdy okres rozwoju społeczno-gospodarczego miasta przyczynia się do wzrostu gęstości zaludnienia w jego granicach, a następnie do wylania się miasta na obszar najbliższego otoczenia (strefy podmiejskiej). Obszar ten stanowi faktycznie przedłużenie miasta i z czasem zostaje wcielony w jego granice administracyjne. Poszerzenie granic miasta powoduje zwykle spadek gęstości zaludnienia w jego nowych granicach. Każdy kolejny okres prosperity miasta inicjuje kolejny cykl rozwoju przestrzennego.

Keywords: rozrost terytorialny, rozwój przestrzenny, cykle rozwojowe, duże miasta

Robert Szmytkie [robert.szmytkie@uwr.edu.pl], Uniwersytet Wrocławski, Instytut Geografii i Rozwoju Regionalnego

Depopulation in Poland in the light of changes in city functions

Robert Krzysztofik, Robert Szmytkie

Przegląd Geograficzny (2018) tom 90, zeszyt 2, pp. 309-329 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/PrzG.2018.2.6

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Abstract: The aim of the paper is to analyze the population changes in industrial cities on the background of population changes in cities of a different functional type. It was assumed that in the period of dynamic development of the highly specialized industrial function of the city, its population is growing rapidly above average. During the recession of industrial function in this group of cities, their population is also decreasing rapidly above average. In both cases, nonlinear development is fundamental to the phenomenon of so-called bifurcation. Transformation of Polish cities after 1989 has caused quite significant changes in their demographic development. Significantly, these changes were conditioned by the transformation of the economy, including the phenomenon of deindustrialization. Nevertheless, demographic factors were also important. These directly and indirectly affected by economic determinants. Hence, after 1990, urban centers experienced a peculiar ‘game of the inhabitants’, whose essence was the widespread negative population growth and the positive balance of migration to a few dozen cities. In this particular place, there were strong industrial centers before 1989. The analysis of population changes in Polish cities of different size categories showed that industrial cities are now much more dynamic depopulating than other types of functional cities. As a result of the loss of the "pull" attribute, and in many times the situation of gaining the attributes of "push" or "disappearing" interest of potential migrants, their demographic profile had to be reduced. This trend was further strengthened by the consequences of the second demographic transition.

Keywords: procesy depopulacji, kurczące się miasta, baza ekonomiczna miast, ośrodki przemysłowe, Polska

Robert Krzysztofik, Departament of Economic Geography University of Silesia Będzińska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Robert Szmytkie [robert.szmytkie@uwr.edu.pl], Uniwersytet Wrocławski, Instytut Geografii i Rozwoju Regionalnego

The “double town” as a form of settlement

Robert Szmytkie

Przegląd Geograficzny (2016) tom 88, zeszyt 4, pp. 511-531 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/PrzG.2016.4.5

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Abstract: The main aim of this article is to attempt to define the term “double town” as a form of settlement, and to order the terminology used in reference to this group of towns. Double towns are settlements created as a result of an administrative connection of two towns. In the literal meaning, they would be towns consisting of two elements with a town character (double towns sensu stricto). In a broader context, double towns may consist of more elements, among which two should be settlement units with a town character (double towns sensu largo). Double towns emerge via two stages, of which the first entails the creation of a concentration of towns (a bicentric agglomeration form), and the second a formal connection between the said of towns into one urban organism. The regress of double towns may in turn result from integration (a unification of spatial structure), disintegration (the gaining of administrative independence by elements of a double town), incorporation (a double town becomes part of another town/city), degradation (a loss of town privileges) or partial or total disappearance (total or partial abandonment of a town). In reference to the character of form of settlement, double towns can be divided into four groups : a) double towns in the narrow sense (sensu stricto): – with a twin layout, consisting of two towns of similar size and rank, e.g. Nowogród and Krzystkowice, Nowa Ruda and Słupiec, Kraśnik and Kraśnik Fabryczny; – with a satellite layout, where one town is considerably bigger than the other, e.g. Bełchatów and Grocholice, Sochaczew and Chodaków, Rawicz and Sarnowa. b) double towns in the broad sense (sensu largo): – with a twin layout, e.g. Czerwionka-Leszczyny, Lędziny and Hołdunów; – with a satellite layout, e.g. Zawiercie and Kromołów, Mielec and Rzochów. In the case of double towns’ functional layouts, five types can be distinguished when the towns are joined, i.e.: – double towns whose components have similar functions and constitute competing centres (usually focal centers of similar rank), e.g. Kórnik and Bnin; – double towns, whose components are specialised centres, as a result of their affiliation with a particular functional area (usually an industrial region), e.g. Nowa Ruda and Słupiec; – double towns whose components have diverse functions independent of each other as regards the functional aspect, e.g. Władysławowo and Jastrzębia Góra; – double towns with two components of disparate rank, despite their functional types (the larger town usually serving as a district centre, the smaller as the administrative centre of the local-authority area or gmina), e.g. Rawicz and Sarnowa; – double towns with an interurbation character – a settlement group whose elements have different and mutually supplemental functions (with one town being a focal centre while the other is a specialised centre), e.g. Kraśnik and Kraśnik Fabryczny.

Keywords: miasta podwójne, miasta-zlepieńce, zmiany administracyjne miast, Polska

Robert Szmytkie [robert.szmytkie@uwr.edu.pl], Uniwersytet Wrocławski, Instytut Geografii i Rozwoju Regionalnego