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Will Poles live in cities?

Will Poles live in cities?
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  ROSENKIEWICZ Krzysztof Andrzej, MSc Institute of Socio-Economic Geography and Spatial Management Department of Geographical and Geological Sciences Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland WILL POLES LIVE IN CITIES? Key words:  Polish city / town, systemic transformation, urbanization, suburbanization, partitions, public opinion  polls, preferences, city lifestyle (culture) E-mail:  Abstract: This paper aims to characterise and explain the specificity of urbanization in Poland by pointing out that culturally and historically conditions determine Poles` attitudes to cities and dwelling in cities. Sceptic assessments of cities and urban life and the ideal of country life strengthen suburbanization and even counter-urbanization, and may accelerate a self-perpetuating mechanism of crisis. The paper contains a study of Poles' preferences for a place of residence and the way of spending time. To explain it, public opinion polls and the reflection of these phenomena in popular culture have been examined. "The city is a necessary product of the evolution of the needs of society" (Prof. Tadeusz Zipser) 1. Introduction This paper deals with the issue of changes taking place in Poland, particularly in cities, after 1989 and   refers to the research field called `urban studies` (Paddison 2001). Research of this kind integrate but also influence geographical and social sciences, especially urban geography and urban sociology, forming several  branches an d schools (Węcławowicz 2007, Kajdanek 2012).  In abundant world literature, according to the  paper’s  orientation, as key studies may be recognized works of L. Wirth (1938), L. Mumford (1938), S. Greer (1962), G. Sjöberg  (1965), H. Gans (1972), S. Zukin (2001) or the earliest of them all  –   of G. Simmel (2006) but also of F. Znaniecki (1938). One could also mention urban studies handbooks (ex. Paddison 2001). Among human geographers E. Soja (2000), representing  postmodernist (post-structuralist) orientation has been particularly popular recently. In particular,  paper’s  topic is  r elated to the phenomena of inhabitants abandoning their cities, to suburbanization, peri-urbanization), and even counter urbanization. Suburbanization (peri-urbanization) in the European Union has been noticeably thoroughly examined by PLUREL project 1  (Piorr, Ravetz, Tosics (eds.) 2011). Motives of counter urbanization have been studied by J. Halliday and M. Combes (1995), R. A. Bijker, T. Haartsen and D. Strijker (2012). These positions are not focused on Polish specificity, however. 1  Among the most complex studies referring to urban issues in Poland are the works of W. Maik (1992), D. Jędrzejczyk (2004), A. Gawryszewski (2005), G. Węcławowicz  (2007, 2010) and numerous ones by J. Parysek (ex. 2005). One should mention Konwersatorium Wiedzy o Mieście (University of Łódź), supplemented yearly as post-conference papers series. As examples of suburbanization studies books of J. Więcław -Michniewska (2006), M. Beim (2007) or K. Kajdanek (2012) may be mentioned. More widely contemporary urbanization issues are discussed in numerous papers and another short studies of J. Parysek, L. Mierzejewska (2005) or J. Jakóbczyk –   Gryszkiewicz (2012). The phenomenon of shrinking cities was researched during the CIRES Project (with a part taken by Polish researchers) 2 , and contemporary issues the operation of cities and urban management describes I. Sagan (2000) or works of Centrum Badań Metropolitalnych UAM in Poznan ( Mikuła 2011).  Not any of these works is focused on historical and cultural conditions of described processes. Knowledge about urbanization processes in Poland is significantly supplemented by works of sociologists: Ziółkowski (1965), Rybicki (1972), Wallis (1977), Szczepański (1981), and syntheses of Jałowiecki and Szczepański (2006) or Majer (2010). The most complex revisions of references to cities and urbanization in Polish culture were made by: Czerwińsk  i (1974), Bartnik (1993), Kopiczyńska    –   Jaworska (1993) and Rybicka (2003), but they depict situations from before decades and do not concern spatial aspects. The most related with the  paper’s  title are anthropological essays (Rewers 2010, Pobłocki 2011).  The phenomena described in this paper cause problems   in the operation of cities and urban management, and affect the quality of life of their inhabitants. The article also contains conclusions and recommendations for the future. The whole is based on extensive studies of literature and opinion polls, including the author's own research.  2. Theoretical comments  According to a prevalent definition, urbanization is `a growth of urban population and their proportion in total population of particular area, due to socio-cultural, demographic and economic factors` (Węcławowicz 2007, p. 62). Using the term `urbanization` in geographical discussions, one should differentiate a state, which means: a level of urbanization of particular area and processes which lead to that state (Rykiel 1977). The simplest indicator of urbanization level is the percentage of population living in cities and towns. This measure is  particularly doubtful in Poland because of high formalization of the process of recognition of a particular place as a municipality (town / city)(cf. Węcławowicz 2010).  The approach common in Polish literature distinguish the following, main aspects of urbanization:  physiognomic (spatial), demographic, economic and social (Ziółkowski 1965, Rykiel 1977). The social often regarded as the most important ( Jałowiecki 1972 - cf. Rykiel 1977), is defined as `a social process in which individuals and whole groups (...) assimilate an urban style of life (urbanism)` (the term proposed by L. Wirth, after Ziółkowski 1965, p. 151). According to Wirth, this lifestyle  is characterized by `cultural and social heterogeneity, spatial and social mobility, participation in a great number of targeted groups, a predominance of contacts within secondary groups over those within primary groups, anonymity, superficial, fragmentary and reified nature of social relations, the disappearance of neighbourly relations, the weakening of authority based on 2  tradition, as well as tolerance, openness, and an impersonal and formal social control` (Wirth 1938  –   after: Ziółkowski 1965). This approach, however still esteemed and popular, is difficult to be regarded as universal (Węgleński 1983). It is highlighted, that social urbanization is not necessarily related to urban areas, but concerns also population nominally rural (Wirth 1938, Rybicki 1972, Węgleński 1983). Some scholars points out an opposite phenomenon  –   ruralization (or: rustification) of urban cultures (Ziółkowski 1965), which another ones criticize (Węgleński 1983).  Among various classifications of urbanization processes the one worked out by L. Van den Berg, R. Drewett, L. Klaassen, A. Rossi and C.H.T. Vijwerberg is noticeably popular (Parysek, Mierzejewska 2005). In the classification the following phases are distinguished: 1) urbanization (  sensu stricto ), 2) suburbanization, 3) counter urbanization and 4) reurbanization. The phase of urbanization means a concentration of people in cities and towns, suburbanization means depopulation of central areas of cities along with simultaneous increase in suburban areas. Counter urbanization takes place when both central and suburban areas face decrease of  population, and reurbanization is the phase, when urban population increases again, especially in central districts (cf. Jakóbczyk –   Gryszkiewicz 2012). J. Parysek and L. Mierzejewska claim that in Poland is nowadays an arena of a few of those processes, but suburbanization (less often counter urbanization) dominate (2005). Despite global character of changes of that kind, situation in Poland retains its specificity. It is highlighted that moving into a city does not mean change of lifestyle itself (Gans 1972 after: Rykiel 1977). Because of that, convictions and declared preferences given to living and spending spare time in cities and towns, expressed in public opinion polls, are assumed here as evidences (symptoms) of social urbanization. For this  paper’s    purpose this phenomenon will be called „declared urbanization‖ . Due to that polls carried by special polling centres (CBOS, HomoHomini  –   including ordered by Polish Ministry of Transport and Building) were analysed. Considering the specificity of the topic and the absence in English of a single term for the Polish word ―miasto‖, the words ―city‖ and ―town‖ will be used according to the contex t. Because of the international character of the Conference, this paper is descriptive and its aim is to  popularise the topic and begin an in-depth discussion. 3. Historical conditions of Poles` attitude to towns and cities The level of urbanization in Poland (i.e. the percentage of the population actually residing in cities and towns  –   60.7% in 2011) is lower than in most European countries. However, any comparisons are not entirely reliable due to different criteria of classification as a municipality / town / city. Nevertheless, this indicator keeps falling (in 1999 it was 61.8%), and the decrease concerns equally small and large cities. A regular population increase is only recorded in a few major centres (Demographic Yearbook 2012). Admittedly resigning strict administrative criteria of urban areas qualification to taking the population of larger urban zones (LUZ) 3  into consideration would increase this indicator up to about 65- 68 % (cf. Węcławowicz 2010, p. 26) . It does not affect the basic issue, however  –   will Poles live in cities (and towns)? 3    Although the level of urbanization varies among regions (voivodeships) (Śląskie 77.7%, Podkarpackie 41.1%) (Demographic Yearbook 2012), the distribution of cities of similar population size is rather regular, especially that of supra-regional cities, metropolises, and potential metropolises. The Polish settlement system is characterized by a moderate, polycentric structure (Koncepcja ...). This is a situation potentially favourable for the availability and dissemination of the urban mode of life. The situation of cities in Poland until 1795 In the history of Polish from the Middle Ages until 1795, two aspects should be highlighted: multiethnic character of cities (Polish-speaking inhabitants were often a minority), and then development of extensive manorial estates and  peasant’s  selfdom related to them. Due to that possibilities to move to cities (towns) was restricted, and cities  –   mostly traditional trade centres - became "redundant" (Krassowski 2004). The city gained importance at the time of the "Four Years Sejm", which granted them some civil rights (the Cities Law of April 18, 1791), soon abolished by the Targowica Confederation (1793). At that time, Poland  became partitioned among three neighbouring states, and the chances of urban development and consolidation of the Polish bourgeoisie were lost. The impact of the partitions on the situation of Polish cities Polish lands were peripheries of the partitioning countries. The 19th century was a time of industrialization and urban development, everything under the control of the partitioners. The railway lines built then, especially major ones, were marked out to meet the interests (especially defensive and military) of the aggressors (Koneczny 2005), who competed with one another. The result was a lack of connections essential for the Polish settlement system: from Warsaw to Poznan and Cracow, also poor was the connection of Warsaw and Lviv. Industry, a significant town-forming factor, developed mainly in the Russian Partition, moderately in the Prussian (except Upper Silesia), while in the Austrian one its development was being inhibited from above .  Because of differences in the state systems, towns in the individual partitions had different characters. In the Prussian Partition there were local self-governments, but for Poles access to them, and to any kind of elite, was restricted. There were no Polish-language academic institutions, either. In the Austrian Partition, after initial repressions, so-called Galician autonomy was introduced in 1846, which made education in Polish possible; there were also universities in Cracow and Lviv with Polish as the official language. This enabled the transmission of culture and tradition. In the Russian Partition, after the period of the Duchy of Warsaw and the relative independence of the Kingdom of Poland (Congress Poland) until 1831, schools and colleges were Russified or closed. After the January Uprising of 1863, the last vestiges of urban self-government were eliminated. The tsar's decree of 1 June 1869 deprived the smallest towns of municipal rights  –   officially because of their poor development, but it was commonly understood as retaliation for support of the insurgents. As a result, the level of urbanization in the Kingdom dropped from 26.2% to 16.3%. It should be noted that in the smallest towns Poles were the largest ethnic group (cf. Gawryszewski 2005). Cities were places most strongly controlled by the partitioning powers, with military forces and police stationed there, with the fiercest fight against all things Polish. Also the release of  peasants from serfdom duties took place late and at different times  –   in the Prussian Partition the process started in 1811, in the Austrian one in 1848, and in the Russian sector only in 1864.    Although the 19th century was the beginning of the modern Polish bourgeoisie, owing to the above circumstances urban life patterns did not become part of the native cultural canon, and a significant part of Polish society did not have any contact with urban life. The Second Polish Republic In such conditions, in 1918 Poland regained its independence as a country poorly urbanized (25.9% in 1921) and internally diversified in this regard (the percentage dropped from west to east). Only 24% of the  population declaring Polish nationality lived in cities and towns. In the two decades between the two world wars the general urbanization rate increased to 28.4% in 1939, but the internal differences became even deeper. According to the 1931 census, the urban popula tion accounted for 42% of the inhabitants of Łódź voivodeship, 39.8% of Poznań voivodeship, but only 9.7% of Nowogródek voivodeship. The 1921 census revealed that ethnic Poles constituted   65.9% of the urban population (with Jews contributing 25.8%, Ukrainians 3.7%, and Germans 1.7%). The proportions were similar in the group of the largest cities (with more than 200,000 inhabitants; cf. Gawryszewski 2005). The Polish People's Republic (PPR) (1944-1989) As a result of World War II, a   vast majority of Jews suffered death, Germans and Ukrainians left Poland or were left outside the post-war borders. Polish cities became almost ethnically homogeneous. However, the war also caused devastating losses among the Polish population, particularly in Warsaw. The period 1944-1989 was also one of a planned formation of a new society. After the nationalization of industry carried out in the years 1947-1948, the so-called 'battle for trade' resulted in the disappearance of small and medium-sized enterprises, the traditional stronghold of the bourgeoisie. Instead, country people were recruited for rebuilding work after the war ravages, and then at 'great constructions of socialism' and for work in the emerging industrial combines and facilities. This was the way to develop 'the working class'. These people usually hardly knew city life, while the previous city-life patterns were wiped out as 'bourgeois'. This was so called `managed urbanization ` (the term proposed by J. Musil, after: Węcławowicz 2007), which proved not to  be persistent enough. Pobłocki (2011) claims that in this way Poland lost the opportunity to develop an urban society in the traditional sense of the word. New city inhabitants were given carefully selected ideological patterns, which - for reasons described above  –   usually had no urban connotations. Such terms as 'bourgeoisie' and 'petty-bourgeois' were used as synonyms of obscurantism and backwardness (cf. Jałowiecki, Szczepański, 2006).  In consequence of forced industrialization and increased migration inflows, the urban population more than doubled (from 9.5 million in 1950 to 23.6 million in 2002; Gawryszewski 2005),. This means that a significant part of present city dwellers were born in the countryside or have urban roots reaching back no farther than 2-3 generations, so the relationship with the countryside is still close. The PPR saw a spread of modernism, regarded as the first comprehensive urban doctrine (cf. Lorens 2010) in a version specific, fitted to centrally managed socialist states. Modernism was a proposal of building a 'new city', and thus of deep social changes, and involved attributing an important role to planners - visionaries who became a kind of designers of the living environment for society as a whole, designers of a new society,
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