Polityka spójności i jej lokalny wymiar. Studium przypadku wsi w Łódzkim Obszarze Metropolitalnym
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Territorial cohesion policy is an important research and application problem in the context of spatial management. These considerations may relate to both specific territorial systems and relevant scales of analysis. The theoretical foundation draws attention to two important issues, namely the discussion of the dimensions of ‘cohesion’ and the impact of scale on how it is perceived. The theoretical introduction forms a basis for a presentation of results pertaining to the social and spatial diversification of suburban rural areas in Lodz Metropolitan Area. This allowed for an assessment of various dimensions of cohesion of local settlement layouts. The author examines four aspects of the concept of “cohesion”. This way of framing research problems relates to the concept of region as a real social object and a spatially delineated whole. From this point of view, at least four dimensions or ways of describing cohesion can be distinguished, i.e. - morphological dimension - relates to the construction (composition) of a structure. In this context, cohesion means the existence of some homogeneity (as with a homogeneous region) in the coexistence of features describing the state of development (material foundation) or resources (e.g. various forms of capitals); - functional dimension - refers to the relationship between the elements of a structure. In this sense, cohesion means the existence of functional relationships between the parts of a structure (as in a nodal region), which results from the diversity of economic activities; - social dimension - refers to forms of interpersonal communication. In this sense, cohesion is a social contract defining the objectives of development and the agreement on key issues relating to the measures to improve the living conditions and sense of inclusion in a territorial community, while stressing the separateness of other territorial formations of the same kind. - cultural dimension - refers to symbolic meanings. In this sense, cohesion is based on the sense of belonging to a given space, the awareness of the existence of given mythical places and events that are the source and condition for the existence of communities, often based on historical experiences. The empirical part of the paper proves the thesis that social and spatial cohesion is a problem of the scale of interpretation and thus relates to its research methods. Thus, cohesion of a rural area with other elements of a metropolitan system interpreted in macro scale (morphological and functional dimensions according to the list above) does not have to be congruous with the internal cohesion within a micro scale of a village (social and cultural dimensions). Increasing heterogeneity (disintegration) of settlements of rural origin (micro scale) is the source of the formation of cohesion (homogeneity) on the macro level – functional organisation of agglomeration or settlement systems of higher order.
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