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Can Depopulation Create Urban Sustainability in Postindustrial Regions? A Case from Poland

Anna Runge (), Iwona Kantor-Pietraga (), Jerzy Runge (), Robert Krzysztofik () and Weronika Dragan ()
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Anna Runge: University of Silesia Department of Economic Geography, 60 Będzińska street, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland
Iwona Kantor-Pietraga: University of Silesia Department of Economic Geography, 60 Będzińska street, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland
Jerzy Runge: University of Silesia Department of Economic Geography, 60 Będzińska street, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland
Robert Krzysztofik: University of Silesia Department of Economic Geography, 60 Będzińska street, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland
Weronika Dragan: University of Silesia Department of Economic Geography, 60 Będzińska street, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 12, 1-18

Abstract: Many towns and cities in the world experience the process of urban shrinkage. This may be observed in localities of different types and of all sizes, including a large group of post-industrial towns and cities of Central and Eastern Europe. One of the districts affected by the urban shrinkage process is the Katowice conurbation in Poland, which may serve as a good example to consider the potential for introducing the idea of sustainable development. In this perspective, sustainability is considered as a specific challenge within the progress of regional transformation, but also a target concept for a large urban region to be followed throughout the evolution and at particular stages of the change. In the discussed region it is all the more important because it is followed by phenomena related to post(industrialism), relatively high pollution levels compared with the European average and a polycentric system of settlement. This paper states that the current urban policy implemented in the Katowice conurbation does not seem to have any palpable effect reversing the trend of depopulation in the region, which seems to stem from the fact that numerous initiatives undertaken in the area are ‘illusory’ and often unnecessary and unjustified. This also applies to activities embracing and fostering the idea of sustainability. With regard to the latter issue, the main concern refers to overinvestment and wasting the measures to reduce low emissions and to make savings in the heat supply system for residential buildings. The Authors proposed a new vision for the transformation of the region. It will respond to the current and expected needs of the residents, while making allowances for multidimensional sustainable development, particularly in terms of housing policy and spatial development. This concept primarily focuses on a new balance between the areas covered by low-rise and high-rise buildings and the reorganisation of the structure of the local economy.

Keywords: urban planning; sustainability; depopulation; urban redevelopment; Katowice conurbation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:12:p:4633-:d:188388

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