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Mirek Dymitrow

Postdoctoral fellow

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Research on degraded and restituted towns: Overview and state-of-the-art


  • Robert Krzysztofik
  • Mirek Dymitrow


  • Robert Krzysztofik
  • Mirek Dymitrow

Summary, in English

Both current and historical settlement forms experience evolutionary, permanent changes to their spatial and socio-economic attributes, not seldom accompanied by dynamic functional transformations. The linkage between functionalism and dynamism, in turn, is one of those elements of conventional geographical theory used to explain the phenomena of urbanization and urbification. While urbanization refers to a broader process of gradual increase in the proportion of people living in ‘urban areas’ as well as ways in which the society adapts to the encountered changes, urbification denotes the strict process of designating ‘urban areas’ by means of formalized mechanisms. At the intersection of these two concepts – urbanization and urbification – lies the fascinating problem of degraded and restituted towns. Degraded and restituted towns have an established niche in science. In Poland, due to the impressive number of degraded (830) and restituted (240) towns, that niche is particularly developed. However, the role of degraded and restituted towns has been thought to pertain to merely two openings: treating them as distinctive elements within (national) settlements systems, or as specific material containers of immaterial values, with both camps emphasizing the role of spatio-temporal changeability. To this background, two basic needs have been identified: firstly, the need to present the multiaspectuality of the undertaken research problem, and, secondly – largely resulting from the former – the need to summarize existing academic works on degraded and restituted towns into a more nuanced yet coherent whole. Hitherto, these works have been sprawling across numerous disciplines with little mutual reinforcement in regard to latest research achievements, which could potentially develop the subject into a theoretically more robust subdiscipline. In this chapter, we have identified a number of research perspectives on the phenomenon of degraded and restituted towns, both well-established and nascent, summarizing them into 12 main currents. Moreover, this introductory chapter provides ample context to the deliberated topic, including a historical synopsis, a review of current practices, a discussion on conceptual and terminological ambiguities, as well as a kaleidoscope of more individualized tidbits and oddities. An extensive literature list finalizes this chapter.

Publishing year







Degraded and restituted towns in Poland: Origins, development, problems

Document type

Book chapter


University of Gothenburg


  • Social and Economic Geography


  • degraded towns
  • restituted towns
  • urbanity
  • rurality
  • formalization
  • Poland




  • ISBN: 91-86472-76-3
  • ISBN: 91-86472-76-3