The Level of Preparedness among the Local Governments of the Katowice Conurbation for Risks Associated with Depopulation and Ageing of the Population

Jerzy Runge, Tomasz Michalski, Anna Runge

Abstract


The Katowice conurbation is the largest traditional economic region in Central Europe and simultaneously a complex settlement system. Yet it faces numerous problems. The article attempts to answer the questions: (1) Does the hitherto relatively uniform economic structure of the Katowice conurbation, based on mining and metallurgy, cause similar intensities of depopulation, demographic ageing and urban shrinkage in 16 neighbouring towns? (2) Is the scope of policies mitigating the effects of these processes similar? The analysis of statistical data for 1999 and 2018 and the development strategies of individual towns shows that both the trends in population changes and the policies adopted towards them differ. The severity of the negative processes varies, with the largest being in Katowice, Sosnowiec and Bytom. Most towns recognize the problem yet consider its solution through selective actions (improvement in housing conditions, development of services or launching new industrial activities). There are also towns that, although seeing problems, marginalize them in their development strategies. Only Czeladź has a multifaceted approach to this problem. The general conclusion shows a need to coordinate the policies of local governments of the entire conurbation for the benefit of multifaceted measures to mitigate depopulation, demographic ageing and urban shrinkage.


Keywords


depopulation; ageing of the population; urban policy; the Katowice conurbation

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