The focus of attention in this paper is on the smallest official territorial units identified in Poland, namely the NUTS 5 level gminas. The information source employed is the Small Area Database (SADB), assembled by the Polish Central Statistical Office (GUS), for the year 2001. The paper examines housing, community infrastructure, business activity and structure, local amenities, the structure of agriculture, gmina finance and, finally, the environment. Having examined the spatial distribution of each of these indicators in turn, an overall typology based upon their aggregation is then compiled. In this way, it is hoped that further insights can be gained into the location and possible causes of successful and unsuccessful transitions in the Polish countryside and that transferable lessons might be drawn from the research. The results of the exercise will also be used to inform the choice the choice of localities for more in-depth case-study analysis in the next stage of the SURDAR project.
After an introduction, the next section of the paper describes the official delineation of Polish space into its NUTS components and into its rural and urban components. This exercise thereby permits an overview of the structure of the SADB. Confronted with the administrative definitions of the rural-urban status of areas employed within the country, comparisons are made with prevailing international conventions. While these are shown to alter the apparent complexion of Polish space, in truth the alternative definitions are equally arbitrary. There then follows, in Section 3, a summary of the statistical clustering procedure that will be employed to categorise local areas along the seven dimensions to be highlighted in Section 4. This is followed by the aggregate typology of development across gminas that follows from these clustering analyses. A summary and conclusions close the paper.
Working Paper No. 4, 59 pp.