Geographia Polonica (2011) vol. 84, iss. 2

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Socio-spatial differentiation in Warsaw: inertia ormetamorphosis of the city structure?

Maciej Smętkowski

Geographia Polonica (2011) vol. 84, iss. 2, pp. 115-133


The major dimensions to socio-spatial disparities in Warsaw are discussed, in relation to the pre-1989 situation, the study using data from 2002 National Census enumeration areas, for which PCA was carried out. The factors shaping the socio-spatial structure of Poland's capital are seen to have become similar to those observable in Western European cities, the key dimensions underpinning existing differences connecting with family or socio-economic status and social marginalisation. That said, spatial structures that evolved earlier are seen to have manifested marked inertia, not least with the classification of census areas pointing to similarities between individual units, not only as regards the prevalent character of buildings, but also where the time of construction is concerned. The inflow of new residents (including students) into Warsaw has represented a significant dimension to the differentiation, but has not generated any important changes in the capital's social space. In essence, the twin processes of transformation and metropolisation are found to have reinforced yet further disparities which had been discernible earlier, without any visible reshaping of their spatial distribution.

Keywords: socio-spatial differentiation, principal component analysis, Warsaw, spatial structure