What is the situation regarding the urban development in Poland?

Located in southeast of Poland, Lubelskie Voivodeship is one of the 16 Polish regions. Covering an area of 25 155 square kilometers, it is the third largest region in Poland. The urban network of Lubelskie includes 48 towns. It is polycentric, though unevenly spaced (density decreases towards east). The capital city is Lublin, located in the centre of the region. Together with neighbouring Świdnik it forms an agglomeration with a population of 380 000.  The number of inhabitants in four subregional towns (Biała Podlaska, Chełm, Puławy, Zamość) varies from 47 000 to 63 000.  The majority of towns in Lubelskie are small, with population of less than 20 000. The Lubelskie Voivodeship Regional State of Play Report presents characteristics of the situation in the cities of the Lubelskie Region and explains how the Integrated Territorial Investments (ITIs) were used in the financial perspective 2014-2020.

Lubelskie is one of the least urbanized regions in Poland – both in terms of the average area per city and urban population ratio. Even though the number of towns in Lubelskie Voivodeship has increased from 42 to 48 over the last years - the number of inhabitants declined. According to demographic forecasts, unfavourable demographic processes in cities of the Lubelskie Voivodeship will persist and even deepen.

Lubelskie Voivodeship is, in statistical terms, the least developed region of Poland, although its dynamic is high (on the European scale). Research on the post-socialist regional processes of transformation has distinguished three development paths of the regions of the Central and Eastern Europe: "metropolitan", "reindustrialisation" and "stagnant". Lubelskie should be included among the stagnant regions.

Taking into consideration a rather unfavourable urban situation, in 2018 the regional authorities decided to prepare a strategic document focusing on urban development – “Regional Urban Policy”. It was the first document referring to urban development on a regional level that was elaborated in Poland.

Therefore, a system for supporting cities in the region, based on the ITI instrument, was elaborated and implemented. It included obligatory ITI instrument for Lublin Functional Area (the region’s capital with surrounding communes) programmed at a national level and obligatory for all regions together with four ITIs (based solely on article 36 of the Common Provision Regulation without the article 7 of the ERDF delegation to urban authorities Regulation) prepared for subregional cities. Both instruments were implemented under the Regional Operational Programme for the Lubelskie Voivodship for years 2014-2020 and co-financed by ERDF and ESF.  The Regional Report specifies characteristics of the instruments and provides information on how cities have decided to use this funding opportunity.

Based on the above experiences, the ITI instrument will also be used in the financial perspective 2021-2027. The implementation of 17 ITIs is planned, expecting them to become the main instrument for creating sustainable development of urban functional areas (identified in the Regional Development Strategy) with particular attention to climate change issues.

Discover more in the EURE Regional Report Lubelskie Voivodeship.