Go to main content

University of Silesia in Katowice

  • Polski
  • English
Logo European City of Science 2024

Scientists provide tools to better understand cities and metropolises

19.03.2024 - 10:12 update 22.03.2024 - 14:21
Editors: wc-a
Tags: 50 tygodni w Mieście Nauki

Each of 50 Weeks in the City of Science features a text about selected research in a given subject area carried out by scientists from the universities forming the Academic Consortium Katowice City of Science. The texts we publish give insight into the diversity of issues scientists deal with and show the research potential that is dormant in the universities of the consortium.

| Agnieszka Kliks-Pudlik |

The 50 Weeks in the City of Science could not fail to include the City Week. A better understanding of how a metropolis operates and the legal forms of its governance, as well as innovative concepts of territorial development for post-industrial regions, are examples of issues that researchers from the Academic Consortium – Katowice City of Science are exploring.

‘One of the characteristics of local government is that it will never take a finite or final form. Continuous evolution and adaptation to the ever-changing environment are inherent in its functioning. That is why it is so important to carry out scientific research within this area and to create tools allowing us to better understand our cities, metropolis and the whole region’, says Roman Marchaj, PhD, from the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Silesia, curator of the City Week.

Strefa Kultury w Katowicach / Culture Zone in Katowice

Culture Zone in Katowice | University of Silesia materials

Dynamic and sustainable development

The work of the Observatory of Urban and Metropolitan Processes, created by eight units: universities and scientific institutes, contributes to the dynamic yet sustainable development of the Upper Silesian metropolitan area. It was established at the University of Silesia on the initiative of and is coordinated by Robert Pyka, PhD, DLitt, Associate Professor.

The main task of the Observatory is to conduct research to better understand the operation of metropolitan areas, which are very complex entities, with particular emphasis on Metropolis GZM. ‘This means that local government officials and politicians do not have to act blindly, but can base their decisions on reliable data and knowledge’, points out Robert Pyka, PhD, DLitt, Associate Professor who has been conducting metropolitan research for years.

This research also allows scientists to assess the current state of the metropolis, outline the challenges it faces and propose future development strategies.

‘We must constantly remind ourselves that a metropolis is not just an institution established in 2017, but above all its people, their collective potential, and actions that drive the development of the entire region. The metropolis is the people, and the institution, i.e. GZM, is supposed to support them by creating favourable conditions for them to use their potential even more effectively. The Observatory is trying to suggest ways of doing this’, stresses Robert Pyka, PhD, DLitt, Associate Professor.

Support for restructuring processes

Innovative concepts of territorial development to lay the foundations for the transformation of industrial regions – this is the topic of the research projects undertaken by researchers at the Silesian School of Regional Research operating at the University of Economics in Katowice.

It is an idea that brings together researchers from several units, mainly from the Department of Strategic and Regional Studies, which was founded years ago by Prof. Andrzej Klasik. For more than 40 years now, the researchers gathered in this unit have been concerned with the region’s economy – investments and jobs but also local development processes.

Over the years, we have reached probably all the cities and municipalities in the region with our knowledge and experience – helping to develop their socio-economic strategies and programmes, preparing infrastructure and social projects, encouraging the development of creativity and entrepreneurship, and providing training.  We also run degree programmes whose graduates find employment in local government and municipal companies. We researched and supported industrial restructuring processes in the region at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries. Today, we are one of the most opinion-forming scientific centres on the subject of the EU Green Deal and Just Transition’, emphasises Marcin Baron, PhD from the Department of Strategic and Regional Studies at the Faculty of Spatial Economy and Regions in Transition of the University of Economics in Katowice.

The researcher is involved in the BOLSTER project (Bridging Organisations and Marginalised Communities for Local Sustainability Transitions in EuRope), funded by the EU Horizon programme. It aims to carry out research to identify communities that, for various reasons – economic and social – are unable or unwilling to face the challenges posed by Europe’s green economy and energy transition.

The legal side of metropolises

In turn, Roman Marchaj, PhD, from the Local Government Law Team at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Silesia, is researching the legal forms of governance of metropolitan areas.

‘In the first phase of my research, I focused on describing the legal characteristics of the metropolitan union and its place in public administration structures. It was especially important, as this kind of normative construction had not functioned in Poland before. As part of the second phase, I attempt to evaluate this systemic structure based on the knowledge I have previously gathered, and at the same time I try to formulate conclusions that, if taken into account by the legislator, could improve the operation of the metropolitan union’, he says.

The researcher has published more than a dozen scientific articles on the operation of the metropolitan union. In addition, as part of a grant from the National Science Centre, together with Prof. Bogdan Dolnicki and Prof. Monika Augustyniak, the researchers published a monograph entitled ‘Status związku metropolitalnego w Polsce a metropolii we Francji. Studium prawnoporównawcze’ [Status of the metropolitan union in Poland vs. the metropolis in France. A legal comparative study]. It addresses issues related to the organisation and functioning of the metropolitan union in the Silesian Voivodeship in comparison with metropolises in France (Paris, Lyon, and Marseille).

The full programme of City Week is available on the event website.

return to top