Geographia Polonica (1989) vol. 56

Changing goals of spatial policies and planning in Poland

Kazimierz Dziewoński

Geographia Polonica (1989) vol. 56, pp. 9-16 | Full text

To avoid misunderstanding a short review of the most important concepts and terms to be used in the following comments seems to be necessary. They are: spatial economy and system of spatial economy, spatial policies, goals and instruments of such policies, among them spatial planning, as well as geographical space, whose elements and structures are objects in spatial policies and planning.The term "spatial economy" in its wider usage describes the whole sphere of practical human activities in which the heterogeneous character of geographical space and/or the overcoming of physical distance play consciously or unconsciously a sig-nificant role in making and implementing involved decisions. However its meaning may be considerably narrowed by identifying such activities with those of social character only. The concept and term are then limited to "social spatial economy" which obviously is only one part or at best one aspect of the whole national economy. The "system of spatial economy" forms therefore only one subsystem within the system of national economy, which is based in its actual status on the binding laws and bye-laws in addition to the culture, customs and traditions of the given country.The state authorities within the system of spatial economy develop "spatial policies", implementing specific goals. Identification of the character and role of such goals in spatial policies is of great importance and significance for the understanding of the basic problems of spatial economy and policies.Usually the primary goal of spatial policies is defined as the maximization (or optimization) ol space utilization, specifically land utilization (with natural resources included) for satisfying the needs of society/national community and its members, without destruction of stability and balance in the environment, especially in the natural environment. However in the deeper analysis the varying and changing character of social needs has to be taken into account. As a result, transformation taking place in the effective use of space and in the environmental equilibrium has to be recognized. A goal or goals understood in this way have therefore to be defined each time in detailed form, and with the passage of time this process leads to considerable variation in those goals. Hence the need for the formulation of goals which may be achieved in the given economic, social and political conditions in addition to being achieved in a com-paratively short period of time.One of the reasons behind the mistakes and disappointments in spatial policies may be found in the numerous conflicts in the dichotomy existing between variation in time of the goals and the stability of geographic space, i.e. the material (physical) environment which if even changing (and in the policies such changes may be intended) is, with exception of environmental catastrophes, changing extremely slowly. As a result, the material environment usually contains patterns from past policies, and current spatial policies strive after its transformation according to current and future needs. Here another conflict is born: one between satisfying the needs of the present population and providing reserves for future generations.

Kazimierz Dziewoński, Instytut Geografii i Przestrzennego Zagospodarowania PAN ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 30, 00-927 Warszawa