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Profesor Jacek Zaucha

The paper presents the results of research on the integration of the various dimensions of development in the Polish provinces with particular emphasis on territorial capital and territorial cohesion. The paper presents to what extent and how the Polish regions (voivodship) managed to achieve territorial cohesion paradigm combining spatial development and socio-economic development. It is based on the results of a survey conducted with the services responsible for the broader development of the regions (mostly departments of the Marshal Offices).

The study found that the representatives of regional authorities, have a relatively good understanding of the issues of territorial cohesion, but their understanding of the concept is generally narrower than the theoretical studies. Many of them considered territorial cohesion not as a separate goal but as a vehicle of achieving to social and economic cohesion.

While at the conceptual level (defining territorial cohesion) most regions have emphasized the role of endogenous growth factors, this has been slightly abandoned at the policy programming stage. In programming of intraregional policies the more traditional approach dominates. Regions usually delimitate different types of areas. This takes place generally on the basis of negative criteria (e.g. problem areas). Characteristic is the lack of an integrated approach. Territory is not treated as a way of policy integration or as a chance to overcome sectoral divisions. It is rather a tool to achieve other goals. But the study also, shows the evolution of the approach (forced mainly by EU regulations), which gives rise to a better policy integration with regard to various types of territories at the regional level.

The paper draws on the findings of the project of the Polish agency, National Science Centre, entitled “Territorial cohesion category in cohesion policy. Implications for economic growth (no. 2012/05/B/HS4/04212).

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