Economic vitality of Polish suburbs

Olga Martyniuk, Justyna Martyniuk Pęczek, Grzegorz Pęczek


Since 1989, Poland has been undergoing major political, social and economic transformations. The effects of these changes are visible on several levels, including the field of urban planning, where they manifested themselves as the birth of the suburbanization process. In the field of economics, it could be noticed that since 1989, the SME sector has been awakening very dynamically. Correlation of the parallel development of these two phenomena has led the authors to pose a question about the emerging potential links between the occurring processes i.e. - the process of the urban sprawl and the development of the SME sector. In this context, a thesis was established about emergence of the so-called "entrepreneurship nests", made up of a dispersed urban tissue with residential functions intermixed and high intensification of economic entrepreneurship, in the Polish suburb areas. To identify the research problem, a two-pronged research in the fields of urban planning and economic research was adopted. The Tricity Metropolitan Area (TMA), consisting of three central cities and 31 towns and adjacent municipalities, was the subject of research. Municipalities with the highest suburbanization rate were established on the basis of the migration balance. Subsequently, business entities in those areas were identified with their business activity measured by the location quotient (LQ). The results of the classification of the units within TMA (cities, town village communities, village communities) according to the migration rate and the construction activity index indicated 7 communities with the highest intensity of the suburbanization process. Our analysis of LQ in all units within TMA (cities, town village community, village communities) and its core cities allowed identification of the communities with the highest SME activity. Additionally, based on statistical data of selected suburban areas, 2 municipalities (Chwaszczyno, Straszyn) with the highest entrepreneur potential were found, which we refer to as the nests of entrepreneurship. Our study confirms that communes characterized by the highest intensity of the suburbanization processes present higher business activity than other communes. However, this is just preliminary study, which offers incomplete explanation of the suburbanization process in a metropolitan area in Poland and will be further developed, using the CATI method, in additional studies. The article is part of the project UMO-2013/09/B/HS4/01175 financed by The National Science Centre in Poland.


suburbanization, Poland, SME sector, transformation, Gdansk Metropolitan Area

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