Small and Medium-Sized Cities and Towns as Development Centres – Local Development Forum seminar report
All towns and cities, small and medium-sized municipalities included, have their own potential – yet the degree to which it is identified, launched, and used varies.

During a yet another Local Development Forum seminar, a number of cities and towns showed their use of endogenic resources in potential building.

The Association of Polish Cities organised another “Endogenic Potential Activation as a Condition of Small and Medium-sized City/Town Development in Poland” seminar on 27 September under the Local Development Forum aegis.

The meeting agenda was designed to show how small and medium-sized cities and towns can build their potential on endogenic resources as a solid foundation for future development.

This time, the meeting was broadcast from Karlino. In each of the thematic blocks, local representatives presented solutions applied in town alongside bold development concepts. Karlino is located in the Białogard county. Historically hugely affected by outcomes of the Red Army having withdrawn from the area, the neighbourhood has also suffered consequences of manufacturing plant and state farm liquidation, including the highest unemployment rates in the country and other maximum-parameter afflictions. During the seminar, mayor of Karlino Waldemar Miśko showcased the example of his municipality as one with painful history yet mustering the capacity to consider activities beyond troubleshooting and putting out fires, designed to build major future development potential.

The two panellist intervention sections explored key areas of development potential-building activities. The mayor of Karlino apart, mayor of Łosice Mariusz Kucewicz took the floor as part of the Economic Development seminar block to prove that the potential of rural areas and agriculture can become a source of equity in a municipality rich in rural areas and surrounded with similar municipalities. Krzysztof Urbański, President of the Board of InVałbrzych – a company responsible for development project stimulation – described the case study of a city which had to redesign itself completely, building its identity from scratch in order to succeed in coming up with a new economic profile and develop space for local residents.

Attracting and Retaining Residents was the seminar’s other thematic section. Deputy mayor of Karlino Piotr Woś described ways in which the town had attempted to attract new residents by investing in education, the local-government-operated secondary school in particular. Active housing policy was described by CEO of the Karlino Social Housing Society Andrzej Nowak, mayor of Pleszewo Arkadiusz Ptak, and vice-president of Stargard Piotr Mync.

During the convention’s summary debate, participants attempted to assess the extent to which small and medium-sized cities and towns have become locations requiring interventionist backing activities – and how seriously they can be considered municipalities capable of tapping their in-house potential in order to become solid centres for their respective functional areas.