Government wants to stimulate city growth

The new government and parliament want Polish cities to grow, even if just by letting them merge. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration, a draft of a bill that would make the merger of cities easier is to be presented on Feb. 28.

The new legislation should especially help raise funds for the biggest-scale projects from the EU and then help the nearby cities to spend the money. The bill should as well prepare measures to plan public transportation, health care and education systems over areas beyond just one city.

The so-called “metropolis bill” is well anticipated in the Silesia region, where 14 cities already cooperate extensively. Their combined population of more than 2 mln is larger than Warsaw, Poland’s biggest city and its capital, and their authorities want to use this metropolitan potential better.
On the Baltic coast, the so-called Tri-City of Sopot, Gdynia and Gdansk has been an example of cooperation for many years and it boasts a common public transportation system. The Tri-City population exceeds 1.1 mln.

The northern cities of Bydgoszcz and Torun, with a combined 600,000 inhabitants, are strengthening their ties.
Krakow, according to official estimates, has a population of 760,000. But if the people living in nearby smaller towns like Wieliczka and Wadowice are counted, the population reaches 1.25 mln.

If approved by the parliament, the new legislation could take effect by the end of 2008, according to officials of the ruling Civic Platform party. Their legislation is similar to a draft prepared by the previous government, which stepped down before the proposal advanced to parliamentary discussion. Currently Poland has 17 cities with a population over 200,000. Only five of the cities ? Warsaw, Lodz, Krakow, Wroclaw and Poznan ? exceed 500,000. Of the country’s 38.1 mln inhabitants, 23.3 mln live in cities.

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