Social Participation as a Tool for Managing Functional and Spatial Changes. Examples of Selected Centres of Small and Medium-Sized Towns in Poland
1 Krakow University of Economics, Department of Economic and Social History, UNESCO Chair for Heritage and Urban Studies, Krakow, POLAND
Abstract. The aim of the article is to assess the prevalence and quality of participatory procedures applied by the Polish local government. The study was conducted in municipalities performing public investments in the areas of historic centres of small and medium-sized cities. Analysis shows that the procedures are limited to informative and consultative participation forms. Local authorities often do not apply them in the belief of their usefulness. They are forced to use them because of some legal procedures and because it is a condition for receiving funding from the European Union. Unfortunately, the period of uncomplicated accessible European Union funds ends. With limited external investment funds, municipal expenses have to be optimized. Such optimization can be achieved for example by using participation tools for better understanding the needs of the community. There is a chance to benefit from the society knowledge because nowadays in Poland we can note growing social activities on some issues relevant to the entire community.
K e y w o r d s: social participation, Poland, city centre, spatial changes, governance, post-communist countries