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Key findings from the diagnosis of

Doktor Tomasz Brodzicki

Executive summary "Governance of the Metropolitan Area"

 Mirosław Grochowski, Tomasz Brodzicki, Marcin Wołek

Key Findings

1. The Case of the Metropolitan Area (henceforth MA) is unique on a national scale. This is reflected, inter alia, by a lack of institutionalized monocentric metropolitan core. The metropolitan area is polycentric, and de facto bipolar acknowledging the role of Gdańsk and Gdynia as two central cities. Complement to the core is centrally located Sopot. These three key cities lead autonomous development policies, although in some subject areas, close territorial or thematic cooperation at the subregional level in various configurations is visible.

2. The metropolitan issues appear in all three strategic documents of core cities, but are only declared and signalized. Actions which could lead to the consolidation of the core in the most important dimensions of political action, namely:

§ emergence of leadership,

§ definition of acceptable objectives for the necessary partnership,

§ and ways to implement actions leading to achieving the goals

are not indicated.

3. Implementation of solutions leading to institutionalization of the management processes at metropolitan level may be difficult because of the strong position of municipalities in the political system and the scope of their competence and approach to managing the institutionalization of the development of the MA. Another problem is the division of competences between the municipalities and counties and the lack of possibility of registration of community-county associations. The lack of general or detailed central regulation of metropolitan management (apart from Warsaw metropolitan area) is visible.

4. In spite of the many positive examples (see main text), the contemporary state of metropolitan cooperation is unsatisfactory. Metropolitan cooperation in the MA occurs, but is generally insufficient: not visible in all necessary areas, some of them are ineffective. This generates significant costs related to, for instance, duplication of actions or lack of coordination and integration of activities leading to the increase of real costs for the residents of the MA. Such basic elements as the exchange of information (especially in the field of spatial planning) and coordination of the calendar of cultural events is clearly lacking.

5. Since the restoration of local government, initiatives in the MA are undertaken to improve the process of territorial development. It is a largely self-taken response to the lack of comprehensive regulations on the development of agglomerations or metropolitan areas. These initiatives are carried out in collaboration with many partners and their effects cannot be overestimated. The effectiveness of the activities taken so far should be attributed to their grassroots origins and intended partnerships between public authorities and partners to carry out specific projects (pragmatism).

6. Rationality and justification for the undertaken initiatives is mainly due to the increasing complexity of functional and spatial structures in the MA. In the absence of common management development opportunities may be lost or conflicts in development process could increase. Operational efficiency of the MA will be augmented by among others solutions in the field of management or investments in infrastructure, especially related to transportation. Without a robust management system in the field of public transportation, these actions, however, will be ineffective in the long run, providing only temporary solutions to existing problems.

7. Several different entities whose purpose is to influence the course of the development of the Metropolitan Area are currently active. Association Gdańsk Metropolitan Area (GOM) and Forum NORDA (NORDA) are two leading organizations that formulate metropolitan or subregional challenges and point out the necessary solutions, while implementing a number of soft actions.

8. Establishment of GOM and NORDA is a reflection of the natural, bottom-up efforts to define and solve common problems at local and sub-regional level. Their emergence should be considered, as the next step in the process of cooperation, which was formerly initiated by formation of inter-commune associations until 1999 at a time when local government operated in the one-stage model (municipality).

9. An important role is played by the Marshal Office of the Pomeranian Region responsible for coordinating and stimulating the development of the whole of the region including the core of the MA, its complementary areas as well as areas of the region beyond the MA. The unique situation MA judging from national perspective is its active involvement in various undertaken initiatives. It seems that in the current situation, the role of the Office, as an initiator and a catalyst can be crucial to the success of attempts to deepen cooperation in the development of the MA in particular in working out an acceptable to all stakeholders’ form of institutionalization of the management the area.

10. The existence of two separate intercommunal organizations within the functional area of ​​Tricity acting on the basis of different values ​​and assumptions cannot be judged as an integrating factor. Therefore, attempts to consolidate the spatial arrangement (the problem of delimitation) with the participation of municipalities and counties from within the wider MA can be perceived as premature or promising little chance of success.

11. It should be emphasized that a major challenge is the lack of or limited opportunities for real impact on the decision making of supra-local or central institutions responsible for the actions taken in the metropolitan area with relevance to the Metropolis such as the Ministry of Treasury (seaports), Polish Agency for Entrepreneurial Development (PARP), Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIIZ), National Research and Development Center (NCBiR), the General Agency for National Roads and Motorways (GDKiA) – trustees of powers and resources, responsible for allocation of significant resources at the regional level. Other metropolitan areas in Poland, however, act within similar framework conditions and environment.

12. Problems with closer cooperation appear already at the stage of formulation of the name (and therefore brand) of the MA. The Marshal Office and Gdynia in their analyses and strategic documents use the term Tricity Metropolitan Area (TOM, or Tri-City). Gdańsk uses the term Gdańsk Metropolitan Area (GOM) or the Gulf of Gdańsk Metropolitan Area (OMZG). This last name appears in the name of the Metropolitan Communication Association of Gulf of Gdansk (ZKZG) created in 2007. According to Sagan and Canowiecki (2011) 'dispute over the name shows a fundamental conflict inhibiting metropolitan integration process, which it is not, as can seem of only symbolic, but pragmatic nature - reflecting the fundamental differences in the vision of the metropolitan community.

13. The idea of ​​institutionalization of cooperation in the framework of the MA is not new. Despite of several years of implementation various activities failed to create a conceptual basis for the management of the area, which would take into account different approaches to the concept of management. The absence of metropolitan issues in planning documents of most municipalities can be perceived as diagnostic in itself.

14. The need for institutionalization of the MA in the form of management structures is not universal. Justification for the institutionalization is shared by municipalities closest to the core of the MA, although in their documents records showing fears associated with the operation of the Metropolis can be identified. The situation is further complicated by evident competition between enterprises or entities related to parties involved or located in the core cities (seaports, airports).

15. In the atmosphere of conflict, the question on the legitimacy of the discussion on specific management solutions in this stage of development of the MA should be asked. Irrespective of what form will be adopted, it may be the subject of contestation by some municipalities. On the other hand, it should be emphasized that awareness of the need for cooperation and the real will for metropolization, at least in the declarative dimension, is clearly visible.


1. The metropolis is a complicated system. Different direct and indirect stakeholders should be included in the institutionalized cooperation activities. These include in particular: local government units from the core and the complementary area, institutions and regional agencies, representatives of the business sector, representatives of science and education, non-governmental organizations. Metropolis must have a broad base.

2. Due to the lack of a common vision for the future, it is advisable to take organic actions aimed at building understanding for the need to institutionalize the Metropolis, indicating benefits of institutionalization and associated costs in the form of, among others, necessary reduction of powers of municipalities in planning and of budgetary consequences resulting from deeper integration of public transport. This will open the way for subsequent, phased introduction of new management solutions and avoiding conflicts associated with "violation" of competences or particular interest.

3. The actual progress in the process of metropolization should be made only after a positive cost-benefit analysis in the medium and long term (economic pragmatism and rationality).

4. Acceptance by municipalities and counties - potential members of the institutionalized MA of the need to reduce their competences in some selected areas key to functioning of the entire MA is a prerequisite for building of more or less formal structure of cooperation. A priori statement by some municipalities that the reduction of competences is happening to the detriment of themselves means that there is a lack of information on the nature of the proposed changes, and municipalities do not have a sense of community of interest with the initiators of actions taken for improved management of the MA.

5. The key to success is a fundamental change in quality of cooperation. Most of people, and thus groups of people or governments, oppose change, especially radical one. In the search for management solutions for the MA the following elements seem to be important: defining initial conditions for change, specification of methods of introduction of changes description of the desired functioning of new solutions. We recommend the use of a participatory process, involving major participants and stakeholders, which should lead to the identification and implementation of acceptable management solutions. This method also legitimizes the worked out solutions.

6. The foundation of effective management and planning in the MA is the assumption of the primacy of the common good in the activities of the various levels of government. In this case, spatial planning activities should not be perceived as separate projects run by individual municipalities, but should become an instrument of lawmaking and oversight of its implementation in the sub-regional scale, including the metropolitan scale. Effective planning systems are in positive sense restrictive systems: they limit the possibilities of action of individual actors for the common good. For public institutions, and in practice for the municipality, transferee on the Competences for zoning adjustments and responsibility for development are transferred to public institutions – in practice the municipality. Coordination activities are carried out at the subregional level.

7. Introduction of new management systems should be extended in time, appropriately phased and preceded by actions engaging all stakeholders of the MA.

8. On the basis of analysis and consultation, we propose for the moment to adopt multi-level governance model for the Metropolitan Area (MLG).

9. We recommend the establishment of a single metropolitan forum for cooperation through integration of GOM and Forum NORDA (one association or association governed by analogy to the GZM).

10. We recommend the implementation of a number of specific actions, some of them already in the framework of the strategic phase of this project. These include in particular:

§ Setting the range of the metropolitan area (delimitation) - linked to area of the so-called ZIT (Zintegrowane Inwestycje Terytorialne) as well as the area of influence crossing in some directions the borders of the Pomeranian region (vide Elbląg);

§ Addressing the problem the name (brand) of the Metropolitan Area;

§ Stakeholders identification for metropolitan cooperation, including, apart of self-governements business, research and development and NGO sectors.

§ Identifying the purposes of metropolitan cooperation and effective communication of these objectives and justification in order to gain the support of various stakeholders;

§ Identifying targeted areas of metropolitan cooperation - and thus of voluntary reduction of autonomy and governance of municipalities and counties (explicit declarations of individual actors in the MA and overall consensus);

§ Setting the targeted level of advancement of cooperation in various identified areas;

§ Providing justification for creating management structures in different thematic areas and at a general level, together with the analysis of the costs and benefits of the governance system and desired institutionalization of the MA (evidence-based policy);

§ Adoption of a strategy for the development of the MA and policies implementing it;

§ Phased deepening and strengthening of cooperation within specific thematic areas (task);

§ Gradual transition, if necessary, to more institutionalized (less flexible) forms of cooperation in specific areas,

§ Bottom-up lobbying for financial support from the state budget and for the elaboration of favorable rules and regulations taking into account the specific features of the MA.

11. Taking into account the multi-axis development problems for the MA identified in other specific diagnoses one can assume that the sphere of management should cover the whole spectrum of activities, which were presented in the recommendations including inter alia, the coordination and execution of infrastructure projects essential for the cohesion of the area, the integration of municipal systems, upgrading quality of education system and increasing the efficiency of the metropolitan labor market.

12. The success of the metropolization process will ultimately depend on political willingness and cooperation of its key actors and stakeholders and in particular the presidents of Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia, as the natural leaders of the heart of the Metropolis and the Marshall of the Pomerania representing the interests of the whole regional community.

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