Metropolitan areas in Poland as a challenge for urban agenda at different territorial levels
Metropolisation processes pose a challenge for public policies at all hierarchical levels. This is clearly visible in Poland, which can be considered as a semi-peripheral country that is more affected by globalisation, including foreign capital flows, than highly developed countries. Since public policies are weak in Poland, market forces have become the main factor shaping its spatial structures. Public policies related to the formation and development of metropolitan areas are characterised by low effectiveness and seem to be subordinated to the implementation of European Union policies. At the national level, awareness of the needs of metropolitan areas does not translate into effective legal or organisational solutions for management (with minor exceptions) nor the spatial and strategic planning of these areas. At the regional level, self-government authorities struggle to reconcile metropolitan area development and the needs of peripheral parts of the regional hinterland. Bottom-up initiatives within metropolitan areas are hindered by a number of obstacles, including a lack of effective legal and financial tools. This shows the importance of effective multi-level governance in implementation of metropolitan policy. Although the need for such policy has been widely acknowledged in Poland, the implementation has encountered series of obstacles in recent years.