Spatial chaos costs Poland billions each year: report

According to the report of the Committee for Spatial Economy and Regional Planning of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN), the combined costs stemming from the spatial chaos in Poland amount to over PLN 83 bn (EUR 19.4 bn) each year.

The report was prepared by 27 experts from across the country between 2016 and 2018. It was presented by its authors at the headquarters of the Supreme Audit Office (NIK) on Thursday.

Krzysztof Kwiatkowski, head of the NIK emphasised that the report highlights pressing issues in Poland. “Polish public space is poorly administered. Chaos and a lack of spatial order negatively impact the broadly understood quality of life,” he said.

According to the report, the chaos stems from several factors. The list includes the lack of public planning, excessive fragmentation of planning, and chaotically taken land development decisions. The latter contribute heavily to “ruining public spaces” and to spatial chaos as they are taken in a very liberal manner which, more often than not, includes abuse of the “good neighbour” rules.

Uncontrolled expansion of city areas was yet another factor pointed out by the report. “This problem concerns not only the major Polish cities,” professor Przemysław Śleszyński, one of the authors, said on Thursday. “We are not talking only about Warsaw, Poznań, the Tricity, and Kraków. The spatial chaos has reached lower levels of the hierarchy.”

The authors of the report indicate that irresponsible and chaotic urban planning leads to high, even if latent, costs. The expenditure includes the building of infrastructure, unnecessarily long commutes, and compensation demands. The combined costs, the report argues, which are connected to infrastructure, transportation, mobility, agriculture, and the real estate market amount to over PLN 83 bn (EUR 19.4 bn) each year.