Ewolucja funkcji regionotwórczych Łodzi
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There are many different ways in which towns achieve a full growth and attain a significant position in the settlement hierarchy. Łódź is an excellent example o f a town that owes its growth to the development of industry. It exhibited typical advantages (a dynamic economic and demographic growth) and disadvantages (underdeveloped technical and social infrastructure). This paper presents the two hundred year process that transformed Łódź from a liny rural locality into a populous and significant regional centre. One can distinguish five phases of this in the functional evolution o f Łódź. The first phase called „the initial stage” ended in 1820. Despite the acquisition of civic rights in 1423, Łódź was a small, remote, rural town that had no capacity to influence outlying areas. In 1820 the population of Łódź numbered 767. The second phase was „an early stage of region-generating functions”. It was initiated by the decision to establish a clothier settlement in 1820, and it was terminated by the First World War. From the economic and demographic point of view it was the most dynamic period in the history of Łódź. However, this growth was not accompanied by a development of other functions. Łódź became thus a huge workmen’s housing estate, destitute of urban structures except financial institutions (banks, credit companies, insurance agencies) necessary for functioning of such a big industrial centre. The third phase called „the institutional stage of region-generating functions” occurred between the two World Wars. At this juncture, Łódź was given some administrative functions (voivodship, bishopric, army district) that induced the appearance of subsequent region-generating functions, e.g. consulates and foreign trade agencies. In this period, Łódź was granted, for the first time in its history, official regional functions through the establishment of the Łódź Voivodship. Nevertheless, the city itself was at a low ebb as to economy and demography. The fourth phase is „the stage of fulfilment of region-generating functions”. It occurred after the Second World War and it followed the development of metropolitan institutions. In those days, Łódź become an important centre of administration, science, culture, and specialised medical services. These institutions made up for some o f the functional deficiencies in the city of 800.000 people and enabled it to exert a marked influence on the region. The political decisions related to the change of the administrative division of Poland in 1975 caused a dinmution of the administrative region of Łódź. The second most populous city in Poland became deprived of some of its regional space. As a consequence Łódź entered „the stage of recession of region-generating functions”. During the economic depression in the 1980s and 1990s, Łódź was confronted with a new challenge. Due to the restriction of its regional space and the decline of the textile industry, the city was affected by an acute demographic crisis. The future of Łódź as a regional centre depends on the creation of some new economic developments (construction o f highways, development of the modern industrial technologies), and on an intensive growth of metropolitan functions.W artykule zaprezentowano proces kształtowania się funkcji regionotwórczej Łodzi na przestrzeni ostatnich dwustu lat. Analizę tego procesu przeprowadzono wydzielając pięć faz, których nazwy określają stopień rozwoju badanej funkcji. W pracy przedstawiono fazy: wyjściową, inicjującą powstanie funkcji regionotwórczych, instytucjonalną, wypełniającą oraz fazę regresji, w jakiej znalazła się Łódź w ostatnich latach.