Geographia Polonica (1989) vol. 56

Changes in rural settlement in Poland up to 2000

Andrzej Stasiak

Geographia Polonica (1989) vol. 56, pp. 109-114 | Full text

The present paper is concerned with the latest findings of research into rural settle-ment and its transformation, carried out in the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) by the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization and by the Commission of Rural Areas at the Committee for Space Economy and Regional Planning (KPZK). It was the Commission that was particularly engaged in preparing the prognosis of the pos-sibilities for the development of rural areas as a multifunctional space up to 2000. The new Polish law on spatial planning of 12 July 1984 stipulates that long-term development plans should be compiled on the national, regional, commune and town scales. Therefore the Ministry of Construction, Spatial and Communal Economy together with the Town Planning Association, which are bodies responsible for spatial planning, organized in February 1986. a special conference on "Basic problems of the development of small towns and rural settlements". The basic paper on settlement in the rural areas and small towns which are an integral part of the rural settlement network was prepared by A. Stasiak and H. Rucz —Pruszyriska. The main theses of that paper are synthesized in the present paper. Before considering the future it seems worth while recalling a few facts.

  1. Rural settlement is largely scattered in Poland; it consists of over 40 thousand settlement units. Regional differences in the size of villages, their occupational and social structure as well as land tenure, are great. An average Polish village is inhabited by about 350 people; in the north-eastern part the number of inhabitants is much smaller, whereas in the southern part it is much bigger.
  2. In many regions the percentage of non-agricultural population is quite high, especially around urban agglomerations and in the south.
  3. In the west and north the proportion of land belonging to state farms is high.
  4. The average peasant farm is small (about 5.0 ha), but the regional differences in their size are wide.
  5. In the decade from 1971 do 1980 the balance of migration from villages to towns was highly negative; now migration has been curtailed.
  6. In rural areas much land is reserved for the urban population as tourist and recreation areas.
  7. The rural areas are to a large extent acquiring the character of a multi-functional space.

Andrzej Stasiak [], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, 00‑818 Warszawa, Poland