In the last 25 years, Łódź and the region surrounding the city have undergone significant transformations in respect of both the socio-economic structure and spatial development. In consequence of radical restructuring carried out after 1990, the traditional manufacturing branches disappeared and have been replaced by dynamically growing new types of business activity, especially in the services sector, which has enhanced the metropolitan character of Łódź and strengthened the functions belonging to 4th sector of the economy. The purpose of this article is identification of the actual extent of Łódź Metropolitan Area in terms of the functions performedand its delimitation for management purposes, as well as analysis of conditions for further development of this area in the context of metropolisation processes. Future development largely depends on making good use of the favourable location in European space, European funds, cultural heritage and social potential. A serious challenge is coordination of activities of territorial self-government units and revision of the policies of the communes so as to create a consistent conception of the development of the metropolitan area. Łódź Metropolitan Area, despite certain barriers, has a potential strong enough to become an advanced, creative node in the sphere of culture, science and innovative economy, and a major element of the European settlement system.
Tadeusz Marszał [email@example.com], Institute of the Built Environment and Spatial Policy, Faculty of Geographical Sciences University of Łódź Kopcińskiego 31, 90-142 Łódź: Poland