Geographia Polonica (1976) vol. 33 2

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Regional and subregional centres of Poland. A general characterization

Antoni Zagożdżon

Geographia Polonica (1976) vol. 33 2, pp. 59-74


Empirical research plays an important role in the studies on the settlement network of Poland, providing the analysis of the current state of the settlement network, and at the same time suggesting certain concepts with respect to its future model. Investigations of this kind can be divided into at least two groups, depending on the approach to the subject.

To the first group belong investigations which can be said to be on the border of the formal approach and which, contain certain information on the functions of elements, or the functioning of the network of the given area. These are the studies on the size and rank of settlements (the Zipf diagram), analyses of the spatial structure of the network (distribution of the settle-ments, understood as points, lines and surfaces, studies on the distances be-tween the settlements and settlement centres, etc.). In this group can be inclu-ded also the analysis of the morphology of settlements (morphogenesis), inves-tigations into the concentration and diffusion (compactness) of the network.

The other group includes investigations characterized by the functional approach, whose aim is to explain the structure of the network. The network consists of elements and systems of different degrees and hierarchy, which are, however, integrated by certain relations. Investigations of this kind are con-cerned with more complicated problems, i.e., with the theory of the network as a particular system.

However, in both these cases the research worker should not confine him-self to a mere description of certain phenomenon (by adequate notation), but should also try to determine certain trends of transformations, so as to be able to formulate hypotheses for accurate forecasts.

During the last few years the number of publications concerned with these problems has notably increased, as has also the research work in this field. An extremely important role has been played by the national plan of research work,1 which ensures the right form of organization of research, as well as its financial support and other resources.


Antoni Zagożdżon, Wrocław Universit y