Small towns’ functions are exposed to pressure stemming from globalization and metropolitan development. In North-East Poland, the study area, they are at the same time affected by the restructuring of rural economy. As in other peripheral regions in Europe, they are subject to de-population trends. The analysis of socioeconomic functions performed by small towns reveals functional polarization – a division line between local service centers and those towns additionally performing specialized functions. Whereas some towns succeed in sustaining, or attracting, often niche type industrial and service activities, others remain to rely upon the provision of private and public services for the surrounding rural places. By referring to R. Camagni’s conceptualization of territorial competitiveness, the role of selected territorial capital components – local entrepreneurship, social capital and local leadership is identified in the observed development of socio-economic functions of supra-local market range. The findings reveal the focusing, by the successful local firms upon the specificity of market offer, its linking with local tradition, skills, and natural resources. On the conceptual side, at a town level, they indicate the importance of mutual interlocking of individual endogenous factors in the development and the sustenance of competitive functions.
Ewa Korcelli-Olejniczak [email@example.com], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, 00‑818 Warszawa, Poland
Filip Piotrowski [firstname.lastname@example.org], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, 00‑818 Warszawa, Poland
Maryana Melnyk [email@example.com]