Rate of urbanisation outpaces rise in population in Poland

On average, an area the size of more than 250 football pitches is developed in Europe every day, and in Poland the increase in urbanised areas exceeds the increase in population, reports the University of Warsaw, summing up an international study.

In the international study ESPON-SUPER, scientists from several European countries analysed urbanisation processes in Europe. Scientists from the Center for European Regional and Local Studies EUROREG at the University of Warsaw participated in the research.

According to the analyses, Poland has one of the most intensified urbanisation processes in Europe, including the development of residential and industrial buildings, as well as road infrastructure. In some areas, especially around the largest Polish cities, this process reached the rate of over 2 hectares per day.

At the same time, the share of urban green areas within ​​new urbanised areas was exceptionally low, compared to other European countries. It is also characteristic of Poland that the increase in built-up areas took place after joining the European Union, and this process was not impacted by the crisis in 2008.

What distinguishes Poland from almost all other European countries is the growth of urbanised areas that outpaces the increase in population. In Mazowieckie, Pomorskie, Wielkopolskie and Małopolskie voivodships, these processes are more aligned with population growth, while in most other areas of the country, the increase in urbanised areas takes place despite a decreasing population.

"Rational management of space is a difficult, but necessary task. In order to reconcile social, economic and environmental interests in the coming years, it is necessary to increase the use of post-industrial areas, ensure compact development, and avoid new investments in areas remote from the existing infrastructure", said Dr Adam Płoszaj, research participant.

The project was carried out under the ESPON programme, financed by the European Commission. The purpose is to diagnose the dynamics of socio-economic processes in European regions and to formulate recommendations supporting the design of public policies based on the evidence found.