Metropolitan ‘soft spaces’ of planning and post-socialist state rescaling in Poland

Authors: Lukasz Mikula*, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, East Europe
Keywords: metropolitan areas, liberalization of planning, democratic transformation, territorial reforms, inter-municipal cooperation, multilevel governance
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Stones Throw 2 - Slate, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The recent discourse on emerging metropolitan ‘soft spaces’ of planning and governance is largely centered around countries of Western Europe. However, since 1990s large urban areas in the Central and Eastern Europe,have also undergone a very dynamic functional and spatial transformation The main purpose of the paper it to examine the role of metropolitan ‘soft spaces’ of planning in post-socialist setting of largest CEE country - Poland. In Western Europe soft spaces are often presented as vehicles of neoliberal policies and means of depoliticization of planning. The hypothesis of the paper it that liberalized system of traditional regulatory land-use planning in Poland makes it difficult to interpret emerging metropolitan ‘soft spaces” of strategic spatial planning in neoliberal terms. Rather than overcoming the rigidities of formal planning system and pursuing neoliberal growth agenda the main rationale behind ‘soft spaces’ in postsocialist Poland is to regain governing capacity in metropolitan scale against over-liberalization of local planning and failures of state-rescaling. The empirical part of the paper is based on the case of Poznań metropolitan area – considered to be a leading city-region in Poland in the field of bottom-up voluntary planning integration at the supra-local scale. Two main research methods are 1) face-to-face interviews with key political figures and planning officers and experts, 2) analysis of working mechanisms and documents of Metropolitan Planning Commission - a non-statutory body appointed by the Poznań Metropolis Association to coordinate local planning policies with metropolitan visions and concepts

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