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Department Of Local Development And Policy

Our address:
Department of Local Development and Policy | Zakład Rozwoju i Polityki Lokalnej
Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies | Wydział Geografii i Studiów Regionalnych
University of Warsaw | Uniwersytet Warszawski
Krakowskie Przedmieście 32 St.
00927 Warsaw | 00-927 Warszawa
phone (0-22) 55 20 650
fax: (0-22) 55 20 650
Opening hours:  8.00-13.00 (Mon-Thu)
Friday - closed.

About us

The Department of Local Development and Policy is a dynamic research and teaching centre conducting interdisciplinary studies on:

  • Regional and local development, in particular:
  • Factors influencing local economic development and development policies;
  • Investment attractiveness;
  • Absorption of EU funds and their impact on the promotion of local and regional development;Local and regional politics and policy making processes.
Currently our team consists of 12 researchers and academic teachers (including 3 Ph.D. students).
During last years  our staff participated in many research projects, including two projects financed by EU Commission within the 6th Framework Programme.
On May 2006 we organized the Bi-Annual Conference of European Urban Research Association (EURA) “Cities in City Regions" in Warsaw. The conference gathered over 120 participants from 26 countries. Since January 2005 Pawel Swianiewicz, Head of the Department, has been the Chair of EURA Executive Board. Pawel Swianiewicz is also a member of the Steering Committee for the Local Government Initiative (LGI) of the Open Society Institute in Budapest.
In November 2008 with Students' Research Club Spatium and with the financial support of LGI Programme of the Open Society Institute in Budapest and Council of Europe we organized an international conference Lessons Learned from Territorial Consolidation Reforms - the European Experience. The conference gathered 49 participants from 21 countries. Selection of post-conference materials have been accepted to be published in a book in a LGI Budapest Series and as a special issue of the Local Government Studies journal.
We are authors of numerous expert reports prepared for the Polish government, regional and local authorities, as well as international organizations such as The World Bank, Council of Europe, Open Society Institute, and British Department for International development (DFID).

Paweł Swianiewicz, Prof.
Current position
- Current position (since September 2006) – Head of the Department of Local Development and Policy, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw.
- Adviser to the President of Poland on local government issues (since October 2010)
Education, Academic degrees
- 2010 – professor of Economics
- 1998 Ph.D. habilitation in Economics („habilitacja"), Economic University, Poznan.
- 1989 Ph.D. in Economic Geography, University of Warsaw.
- Since March 2000 – Professor at University of Warsaw: Centre for European Regional and Local Studies (2000-2004) and Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies (2004 till now)
- 1995- 2001 - Programme Manager in the British Know-How Fund Local Government Assistance Programme.
- 1998 – 2000 - Professor in the Institute of Economics, Catholic University of Lublin
Main areas of expertise
Local government finance, local government politics, territorial organization and territorial reforms, inter-municipal cooperation, decentralization reforms – comparative perspective.
Consultant in Council of Europe, British Department for International Development, UNDP, Swedish International Development Agency, LGI-OSI projects in several countries of Eastern and Central Europe.
Honors, Membership in Boards and Academic Organizations, Scholarships
  • European Urban Research Association (EURA) – member of the Executive Board since 2002, President of the Executive Board – from 2005 to 2010.
  • Steering Committee of the Local Government Initiative, Open Society Institute in Budapest, January 2006 – December 2010
  • Member of British Empire (MBE) – 2002
  • Visiting scholar in: School for Advanced Urban Studies, University of Bristol (1990/91), Department of Sociology, University of Chicago (Senior Fulbright Scholar 1992/93), LOS Centre, University of Bergen (1994).
Research projects and publications – see relevant bookmarks
Wojciech Dziemianowicz, Assoc. Prof.
Katarzyna Szmigiel-Rawska, Ph.D.
Marta Lackowska, Ph.D.
Julita Łukomska, Ph.D.
Anna Dąbrowska, research assistant
Joanna Krukowska, research assistant
Adam Gendźwiłł, research assistant
Klaudia Peszat, Ph.D. student
Natalia Szajewska, Ph.D. student
Anna Kurniewicz, Ph.D. student
Mirosława Kardacz, secretariat
Research activity
The team of the Department of Local Development and Policy conducts a wide range of research projects. Detailed information about ongoing and completed projects can be found in the bookmark "Research Projects".
Our students are invited to participate in most of the research projects carried out in the Department.
Teaching activity
Since 2006 we are coordinating a two-year master programme on “Strategic planning of regional and local development". Currently we have around 50 students enrolled on our programme.

The courses are divided into four thematic groups:
  • Planning regional and local development;
  • Local governments as political institutions and subjects of development policies;
  • Spatial (physical) planning;
  • Sustainable development and environment in planning of local development.

The programme concentrates on Poland but we pay a lot of attention to the European context, which influences the process of local and regional development. Our lectures usually refer to the most recent empirical results, related to research projects we are currently involved in. Some of our students are also involved in our empirical research activities.

Our programme prepares students to work in:
  • Government institutions dealing with regional and local development;
  • Local government administration;
  • Public and private institutions dealing with European Union funds for regional development.
One of our graduates is Magdalena Młochowska (Wilamowska), Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Administration and Digitization of Poland.

Master dissertations can be prepared under the supervision of Prof. Pawel Swianiewicz, Prof. Wojciech Dziemianowicz or Prof. Andrzej Kowalczyk. It is also possible to concentrate on environmental issues and to participate in a master seminar under the supervision of Prof. Katarzyna Ostaszewska. For the last two years our students have been awarded the first prize in a contest for the best master thesis related to local government issues, organized by the academic journal “Samorząd Terytorialny" (“Local Government").
Ongoing projects

Intermunicipal cooperation – forms, scale, motives, mechanisms, results – comparison of European countries  

  • Organizing for resilience. A comparative study on institutional capacity, governance, and climate change adaptation in Poland and Norway
  • The local development factors in view of economical crisis and new European challenges
Completed projects
  • Local Tax Policies in Poland As Instruments In Development CompetitionInter-municipal cooperation: economic and political dimension
  • Neighbourhood governments in management of big cities in Poland
  • Local Governments as Beneficiaries of the Sectoral Operating Programmes (SOP)
  • Durability of international partnerships created in transborder cooperation
  • Distressed Neighbourhoods in Policies of Polish cities
  • Pre-school education in policies of municipal governments in Poland
  • Factors explaining differences in implementation of the Integrated Regional Operating Programme (IROP) in Polish regions
  • Municipal Assemblies in European Local Governance in Change
  • G-FORS – Governance for Sustainability
  • Passiveness of Local Governments as a Factor Strengthening Regional Disparities in Poland
  • Territorial Consolidation Reforms in Europe
  • SOCCOH – The Challenge of Socio-Economic Cohesion in the Enlarged European Union
  • Competitiveness and Innovation of Companies in Warmia and Mazury Region
  • Innovation in local governments of Warmia and Mazury Region in competition for external investments
  • International Metropolitan Observatory
  • Local Political Leaders in Europe

More detailed description of the mentioned projects can be found beneath.

Ongoing projects

Intermunicipal cooperation – forms, scale, motives, mechanisms, results – comparison of European countries  

Source of funding: grant of the National Science Centre (Opus programme)

Duration: July 2016 – July 2019

Project leader: dr hab. Marta Lackowska

Members of the research team: prof. Paweł Swianiewicz, dr Adam Gendźwiłł, dr Joanna Krukowska


The project is a spill-over of another study conducted in our Department entitled "Inter Municipal Cooperation in Poland: Economic and Political Dimension" which our team completed in the mid-2016 (project ID 221504).

During that research we have identified two main underresearched dimensions (thematic and territorial one), which we have decided to take into consideration in subsequent studies.

1)  First, we plan to extend our empirical analysis in Poland so that it includes not only cooperation with intermunicipal unions (pol. związki międzygminne), but also within private-law companies. We formulate a hypothesis that companies are more technocratic with less mechanisms of democratic decision-making than associations. In the framework of the desk and field research, we plan to answer question concerning, i.a.: most frequent fields of intermunicipal cooperation, its dynamics, its financial dimension, motives of formal cooperation establishment, actors involved in the cooperation, mechanism and problems of the multilateral decision-making process, and – last but not least – a relative importance of IMC in municipal policy-making. The results of comparison of companies and associations will pose an important material for local politicians and administrative staff.

2)   Second, this complex analysis of strongly formalised institutions of IMC in Poland provides a good basis for international comparisons. Thanks to international collaboration in the framework of the COST Action LocRef we are able to undertake a wide international comparison covering Poland and 7 other European states. Similar studies to the Polish one will be conducted in 7 other European countries (Finland, Germany, Iceland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain). We plan to check, how institutions of IMC fit into different national administrative settings in Europe and to identify factors explaining differences among countries. Thanks to uniform methodology of research in individual countries involved, some of our analysis may go down from country by country level to the level of individual IMC institutions. We formulate several hypothesis indicating that differences in IMC functioning may be explained by  organizational culture (de)favourable for cooperation, existence of external incentives, strong political leadership, level of territorial fragmentation and functional decentralization as well as of local governments’ self-reliance in dealing with their tasks.

Fees and user charges for local public services - financial and political importance
Financing: Grant from NCN (National Science Centre)
Duration: July 2016-June 2019
Project leader: prof. Paweł Swianiewicz
Other involved staff members: dr Julita Łukomska, research student selected during Autumn 2016. 
The main aim of the research is better understanding of the role of user charges in local government finance and in local politics. In particular we aim at:
  • exploring importance of revenues from user charges for local government finance;
  • understanding the motives behind local decisions on the level of tariffs;
  • identifying factors explaining variation of tariffs applied in different Polish cities.


The main hypothesis are:

  1. Decisions on the level of tariffs are important topics of local politics; they are more hot political issues than local tax policies;
  2. In spite of that political sensitivity, the share of user charges in local government finance growths faster than revenues from local taxes;
  3. The level of tariffs is correlated with political cycle (especially: no decisions on increase of tariffs directly before local elections);
  4. There is a high variation of tariffs among Polish local governments. The variation may be explained by factors such as population size of municipality, socio-economic environment, political environment and the form (legal, organizational) of service delivery.


The research covers evolution of total revenues from charges for various local services as well as dynamics and variation of tariffs for a few selected services. The analysis will concern services related to access to technical infrastructure as well as related to social services (e.g. charges for water and waste water, tickets for local public transport, rents in municipal housing, parking fees). 

The importance of tariffs in local politics as well as motives behinds decisions made by local governments will be researched through qualitative methods during filed research in several dozens of local governments of different size and socio-economic background, located in at least three different administrative regions of Poland.


According to some earlier researches user charges for services have an increasing importance in financing local government spending. This phenomenon has two major reasons. First, domination of New Public Management discourse has for a long time promoted minimization of subsidies to local public services. Second, decisions on the increase of tariffs are often politically easier to make and implement, comparing to a strong pressure for lowering (or at least keeping unchanged) rates of local taxes. In Poland, the financial burden of households is often higher in case of charges for local services than in case of the total yield of levied local taxes. Therefore decisions on tariffs may bring more attention of citizens/ tax-payers.

In spite of the facts mentioned above, tariffs for local services have not been subject of numerous empirical studies so far. The proposed project brings-in political economy perspective. Starting from the model of tariffs set on the basis of marginal cost model and user-payer principle, it refers also to political models (such as political cycle, equilibrium between financial and political capital). In particular the proposed approach places attention at specific factors influencing required structure of tariffs, such as redistribution policies, internalization of externalities and control of tariffs for natural monopolies. Those factors have not only economic but also political importance. The study will refer to theoretical models of political cycle and equilibrium between financial and political capital.


Political Leaders in European Local Governments (POLLEADER – Second Edition)

Source of funding: grant of the National Science Centre (Harmonia programme)

Duration: April 2016 – April 2018

Project leader: dr Adam Gendźwiłł

Members of the research team: prof. Paweł Swianiewicz, dr hab. Marta Lackowska, dr Joanna Krukowska


The aim of the project is a comprehensive, comparative analysis of local political leaders (mayors) in European countries. Comparisons will include styles of leadership, role of leaders in formal and informal power networks, opinions on opportunities and threats for local communities, attitudes towards various models of service delivery and public sector reforms as well as career paths of local elites. The research is designed in a way allowing comparison of new results with those obtained in 2003-2004 research on European Mayors (Poland was part of the 2003-2004 project). Research in 2003-2004 – so far the only such a wide investigation – covered 17 countries. This edition includes even wider group of over 20 European countries.

The Polish team of investigators – due to profile of recent and on-going research in Poland – will be responsible for international comparative analysis of following areas: (1) impact of size of local government on character of leadership and quality of local democracy, (2) role of national political parties in local politics and specificity of non-partisan local leaders (3) attitude of local leaders to external cooperation of local governments (this issue is related to inter-municipal cooperation, cooperation with other tiers of public administration as well as relationship with external actors such as local business or societal organizations).

The project is based on the survey of local political leaders, which is conducted in participating countries. In Poland the survey of mayors, based on the common core questionnaire, started in June 2015 and terminated in November 2015. The project is a joint initiative of the research network, led by prof. Hubert Heinelt (Germany) and prof. Annick Magnier (Italy), who coordinated earlier version of similar research in 2003-2004, as well as research network COST IS 1207 Local Public Sector Reforms: An International Comparison.



  • Organizing for resilience. A comparative study on institutional capacity, governance, and climate change adaptation in Poland and Norway /POLCITCLIM/
Duration of the project: 2013 - 2016
Financing: Polish-Norwegian Research Programme
Team: Paweł Swianiewicz (leader), Katarzyna Szmigiel-Rawska, Marta Lackowska, Natalia Szajewska, A. Gendźwiłł
POLCITCLIM is a social science-based research that will study the factors that may influence climate change adaptation capacity  in Poland and Norway. The project will be carried out by the Department of Local Development and Policy, University of Warsaw and Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR). An ongoing NIBR research on local adaptation to climate change in Norway will form the basis of the project. Through a replication and expansion of the study in Norway on Polish cities we will be able to do a comparison of the factors that enable local communities to adapt to future climate changes. As the consequence of climate change is predicted with ever greater certainty, the necessity of adapting to expected impacts is increasingly acknowledged by decision makers. Since climate change has local variations, much of the adaptation work is presumed to be best handled locally. The research to be conducted in Poland includes:
1) Survey of Polish local governments identifying the level of awareness of challenges related to climate change among local politicians and bureaucrats in Poland. To what extent they treat related challenges as an important issue of local politics? Do they believe that locally handled adaptive activities are actually important for the well-being of local communities?
2) Four case studies of Polish cities. The final selection of cases has not been made yet, but it is assumed that they will include:
  • City/municipality with increasing flooding problems,
  • City/municipality with coastal problems,
  • A city region where flood problems are discussed through the inter-municipal cooperation,
  • City/municipality which have either already adopted or is currently working on a strategy for climate change adaptation.
The case studies will focus on attitudes of local politicians and bureaucrats but they will involve also research of the role of societal actors (eg non-governmental organizations).
Conclusions from the research will be disseminated to local governments and social organizations dealing with relevant issues. The Polish team in the project implementation: Prof. Paweł Swianiewicz – team leader, Marta Lackowska, Katarzyna Szmigiel-Rawska, Adam Gendźwiłł, Natalia Szajewska.
  • Inter-municipal cooperation: economic and political dimension
Duration of the project: 2014 - 2015
Financing: National Science Centre
Team: Paweł Swianiewicz (leader), Marta Lackowska, Natalia Szajewska, Adam Gendźwiłł
The aim of research is to investigate scope, as well as to understand mechanisms and effects of Inter-municipal cooperation (IMC) in Poland. The main hypothesis suggests that IMC provides a potential tool for answering economy of scale and coordination of service delivery dilemmas. However, that potential is poorly utilized due to unfavourable external conditions as well as due to inter-organizational failures of cooperation. Detail research questions and propositions refer to dimensions of cooperation.
1. The scope of IMC. In quantitative terms is dominated by „soft cooperation”, but in the financial terms the most important is „hard” cooperation related to joint delivery of services.
2. Motives. The most frequent is a desire to achieve economy of scale, but „opportunist” motives are also important. Incentives provided by national policies or arising from coordinating role of upper tiers (regions, counties) play a marginal role only.
3. Actual benefits. In case of “hard cooperation” they can be quantified and opinions of involved partners are uniform. In “soft cooperation” measurement is more difficult, and assessment of partners is divergent.
4. The opinion on cooperation depends on the position in the network. The assessment by those who occupy the most central positions in the network is often more critical than the assessment of “free-riders”, and of the less involved partners.
5. The position of IMC in the hierarchy of priorities of local policies. The role is usually marginal, which is reflected in the local political debates as well as the scope of financial resources involved.
6. The efficiency of decision-making. It is limited, in particular due to time needed for agreeing positions of the partners.
7. Transparency and accountability of decision-making. It is limited due to low interest of municipal councilors, local media and societal organizations in IMC institutions. Consequently, democratic control mechanisms are weaker than in case of activities undertaken by single local governments.
8. Dynamics of IMC. In case of successful cooperation it gradually becomes deeper and wider.
9. IMC has often façade character and is unsustainable. That characteristics is true more often in case of “soft cooperation”, where results are more difficult to measure.
The local development factors in view of economical crisis and new European challenges
Duration of the project: 2014-2015
Team: prof. Wojciech Dziemianowicz (leader), Jacek Szlachta (Warsaw School of Economics), Katarzyna Szmigiel-Rawska, Klaudia Peszat
Completed projects

  • Local Tax Policies in Poland As Instruments In Development Competition
  • Team: Julita Łukomska (leader0, Paweł Swianiewicz, Jarosław Neneman, Kamil Przyborowski
Local Tax Policies in Poland As Instruments In Development Competition Project financed by the grant from the National Centre for Academic  Research. Duration: 2013-2015.
The aim of the Project is to describe and to explain a variation of  local government tax policies in Poland. One of the elements of the  explanation would be an attempt at understanding the motives behind  decisions made by local politicians as well as assessment of  effectiveness in reaching the objectives formulated by politicians. In  order to do that we will try to answer following research questions:
1. Are there differences of local tax policies among Polish  municipalities? We expect that the main explanatory variables are:  population size, distance from the largest agglomerations, social and  economic structure and variation of the regional development.
2. What are the motives of local politicians who are making decisions on  local taxes? We expect that motives are different in case of policies  towards individual tax-payers (residents) and local businesses. We  expect also to find some elements of the “political (electoral) cycle”  in local tax policies.
3. What is the effectiveness of achieving the goals formulated by local  politicians? We expect that “social” and political goals are reached  more often than the economic (stimulation) objectives.
4. What is the impact of tax policies on revenues of local budgets? We  expect that cases in which reduction of the tax rate leads (through  stimulation effect) to increase of local revenues are extremely rare.
5. Is there a tax competition on a local government level? We expect  that our research will allow to identify cases of such competition.

  • Neighbourhood governments in management of big cities in Poland

Duration of the project: December 2011 - Sepember 2013

Financing: National Science Centre (Narodowe Centrum Nauki)

Team: Paweł Swianiewicz (leader), Marta Lackowska, Joanna Krukowska, Anna Kurniewicz

The project analyses:
  • the way nigehbourhood goverenments are created;
  • their role in local service delivery;their role in promoting local democracy (embedeness in local community,
  • the role in articulating territorial interests on a city level);
  • financing their activity.
The study refers to the two main theoretical debates:
  1. Re-teritorialization suggests that due to globalization the social meaning of territory is changing (see Brenner, Swyngedouw). Application of the concept to the city level allows to distinguish between down-scaling (which implies policies prepared and implemented on the neighbourhood level) and up-scaling (related to scale of agglomeration and multi-level governance). Our study concentrates on the down-scaling process.
  2. The role of neighbourhoods can be seen also through the governance perspective. The focus is on relationships between neighbourhood and city government as well as on involvement of various local stakeholders. It opens a space for researching community involvement in the management of big city.
  3. In an academic debate there are several arguments for decentralization of competences to neighbourhoods. Lowndess and Sullivan (2008) mention:
(1) the civic rationale: citizen participation and active communities;
(2) the social rationale: the citizen well-being and stakeholder collaboration;
(3) the political rationale: accessibility, responsiveness and accountability;
(4) the economic rationale: efficiency and effectiveness.
In our research we suggest a few hypothesis.
Main hypothesis: Neighbourhood governments play usually a marginal role in city politics. They are not important tool to articulate territorial interests. The scope of their functions and finance do not allow to play an important role in provision of services for local communities.
In addition to these, we propose more detail propositions:
Proposition 1. The position of neigbourhood governments is week both in relation to the city level and to local community (they are poorly recognized by citizens).
Proposition 2. Their weak position is influence both centralist management culture on a city level and weakness of local civic society.
Proposition 3. The weak community involvement on a neighbourhood level is related to all conditions enumerated in the CLEAR concept, but the most important seem to be: (1) low level of identity with neigbourhood level, (2) weak presence of civic institutions which might channel the bottom-up initiatives, (3) low trust that the opinions expressed by citizens will be considered by government administration.
Proposition 4. In spite of general tendencies described above, the actual situation vary both among cities and among neighbourhoods within the same city. This variation is related to: (1) model of territorial organization (small neighbourhoods are more active), (2) density of civic institutions networks, (3) social structure of the neighbourhood community, (4) attitude of the city leader (mayor) towards the neighbourhood governments.
The empirical study consists of two phases:Analysis of the models of neighbourhood governments in 23 cities over 150,000 citizens (based on official documents of the cities)Field research in 4 cities selected to represent different models of neighbourhood governments. Part of this stage will refer to the whole city and part will be limited to the one neighbourhood selected in each of the cities.

  • Local Governments as Beneficiaries of the Sectoral Operating Programmes (SOP)
Duration of the project: 2011-2012
Financing: Ministry of Regional Development
Team: Paweł Swianiewicz (leader), Marta Lackowska, Joanna Krukowska

EU structural funds play an important role in funding local development projects. Most of analysis so far has concentrated on Regional Operating Programmes. However, local governments benefit also from other programmes, such as related to environment protection, transport or development of human capital. Partial data suggest that these sectoral programmes are especially important for the largest cities.
The goal of the project is: (1) gaining the comprehensive knowledge on the role of sectoral progtrammes for local governments, (2) understanding the differences in mechanisms of projects selection and implementation in various operating programmes as seen from the local development perspectives. The detail research questions include:
• What is the value of projects implemented by local governments, which are financed
from SOP? What is the proportion of this value to the value of projects financed from Regional Operating Programmes? What is variation in this respect between cities of various sizes and located in different regions?
• What are mechanisms of competition for projects? What are the factors influencing chances in the competition? Are there significant differences comparing to Regional Operating Programmes?
The final report was published in 2013. The team working on the project includes Prof. Pawel Swianiewicz, Dr Marta Lackowska, Joanna Krukowska and Julita Łukomska.

  • Durability of international partnerships created in transborder cooperation
The main question posted in the project is one about durability of the partnerships created in the transborder cooperation. The durability is the main factor of factual transborder relation established as the base for integration.
The most important element of the cooperation of territorial units is the formation of transborder configurations of partners, which transform into effective transborder networks of information exchange as an outcome of the common activities realization. Cooperation of territorial administrative units increases number of international channels of diffusion of innovations through that process. However the factual not only declared transborder character of the relation is the sine qua non condition, it takes place when there is an actual exchange of the information and competences through the border.
In the practical dimension of the issue the increasing concern about the international cooperation is the result of the growing amounts of EU financial means spent on that kind of the cooperation, accompanied by the rising activity of the administrative organizations in the field.
The aim of the project is the identification of the factors influencing: the durability of the transborder partnerships, the most effective ways of the creation of that kind of partnerships and the ways of more sufficient selections of the partners.
  • Distressed Neighbourhoods in Policies of Polish cities
Team: Paweł Swianiewicz (leader), Joanna Krukowska, Paulina Nowicka, Magdalena Szalewicz.
Project financed by the grant from Polish Ministry of Academic Research and Higher Education.
Time duration of the project: October 2009 – June 2011.
The aim of the project is:
  • to understand what is the importance of projects addressed at distressed neighbourhoods in overall city development policies;
  • better understanding of the mechanisms of formulation and implementation of projects in selected city neigbourhoods.
The project consists of following six phases:
(1) development of methodology (including internal project seminar on international experience in policies towards distressed city communities),
(2) discourse analysis of the most important planning documents in the largest 10 Polish cities (such as city strategies, spatial development and land use plans etc.),
(3) selection of three case-cities for detail field research,
(4) detail identification of distressed negihbourhoods in selected cities,
(5) in-depth discourse analysis in selected three cities (based on strategic documents, minutes of city council and council committees meetings, local press),
(6) in-depth analysis of one project implemented in distressed neigbourhoods in each of selected three cities.
Hypothesis 1 says that the goals explicitly related to spatial structure of the city are rare in Polish cities. In particular, distressed neigbourhoods do not attract much of attention of local politicians.
Hypothesis 2 claims that existing projects in distressed neighbourhoods concentrate on physical rehabilitation rather than on social and economic dimensions of revitalization. This marginal importance of social dimension is seen in actual policy implementation, although not necessarily in verbal declaration of politicians.
Hypothesis 3 suggests that on-going projects in distressed neighbourhoods are being prepared and implemented with only marginal involvement of local communities. And even if local government tries to increase community participation, such an approach meets limitations related to the weaknesses of social capital and local civic society.
  • Pre-school education in policies of municipal governments in Poland
  • Team: Paweł Swianiewicz (leader), Marta Lackowska, Julita Łukomska, Joanna Krukowska
The project is implemented in 2011 thanks to the grant from Ministry of Education (financed from the Operational Programme Human Capital). Education is the largest single item in local government spending. Most academic of research so far has concentrated on management of schools, while analysis of pre-school education (kindergartens) are rare. Recent years has brought enlarged interest in the issue. The discourse of pre-school education has been evolving in recent years – from the focus on “taking care”(allowing the parents to enter the labour market, while their children may stay in kindergarten facilities) to “educating” (growing belief that pre-school education is important for quality of further education of children). It is increasingly accepted that kindergartens may become instruments of equalization of education chances. The second factor which has influences the growing interest in kindergartens has been related to EU funds available for this sector.
The aim of the research is to check to what extent these broader changes has influenced the policies of local governments. The list of research questions includes:
• Which of the goals of the kindergartens (education, socialization, taking care of children) is seen as the most important by local politicians?
• How often kindergartens become an issue of local political debates? What is the level of interest of various local actors (councilors, parents, administration) in these debates?
• What proportion of children attends kindergartens in different types of local communities? What are the plans to develop the network?
• What is the role envisaged by local politicians for public and non-public (private, voluntary sector) pre-school facilities?
• What are the policies concerning fees paid by parents for kindergartens?
• To what extent local governments co-operate with each other in pre-school education delivery?
The research is based on following research methods:
• Analysis of official data (especially reports from local budget executions and data collected by the Ministry of Education);
• Survey of over 300 bureaucrats responsible for education in town halls;
• Focus group interviews with councilors and bureaucrats responsible for education in town halls
• Field research of over 50 local governments in 5 regions of Poland (interviews with the mayor, councilor form Committee for Education and employees responsible for education are conducted in each of the visited local government).
The research team is led by prof. Pawel Swianiewicz. Dr Marta Lackowska, Joanna Krukowska and Julita Łukomska are also involved in the research team.

Factors explaining differences in implementation of the Integrated Regional Operating Programme (IROP) in Polish regions

Team: Pawel Swianiewicz (leader), Adam Mielczarek, Marta Lackowska, Anna Dąbrowska, Joanna Krukowska, Karol Trammer, Joanna Charytonowicz.
Financing: Ministry of Regional Development in Poland
Time duration of the project: March 2009 – till beginning of 2010.
IROP was the first EU Structural Funds Programme implemented in Poland in 2004-2006. Although, it was the one, integrated programme operating according to the same rules in the whole country, in practice its implementation looked differently in individual Polish regions. The aim of the research us to identify and to understand those differences. The project refers to the methodology developed in 2006-2007 during similar research in Lower Silesia and Malopolska regions (results of that study are available in: P. Swianiewicz, J. Herbst, M. Lackowska, A. Mielczarek (2008) “Szafarze darów europejskich: kapitał społeczny a realizacja polityki regionalnej w polskich województwach” (Ministries of European Gifts: Social Capital and Implementation of Regional Policy in Polish Regions) Warszawa: Scholar). The project includes empirical studies in 5 regions: Lublin, Łódź, Pomorze (Pomerania), Warmia-Mazury and Wielkopolska.
The basic hypothesis of the project suggests that implementation of IROP is significantly influenced by the nature of social relations among broadly understand regional political elites. These elites are identified through formal positions in the regional and local governments as well as in Regional Steering Committees and Regional Monitoring Committees of IROP. We assume that the main features of these social relations are rooted in models of social capital characteristic for the region.
The empirical study is based on several methods:
  • analysis of official documents (such as budget reports, minutes of Regional Steering Committees and Regional Government Executive Boards, lists of projects submitted and approved for IROP project etc.);
  • In-depth interviews with key actors of regional political scene;
  • Survey of about 35-40 respondents recruited from among regional elites in each of researched regions (about 180 questionnaires altogether);
  • Social Network Analysis used for interpretation of collected data.
Municipal Assemblies in European Local Governance in Change
A project implemented from 2006 till 2008, assumes the collection of comparable data base on political careers, attitudes, values, preferences and styles of participation in local politics of municipal councilors in 16 European countries. The project is coordinated by prof. Henry Back from the University of Göteborg.
G-FORS – Governance for Sustainability
The project’s implementation ranges from 2006 to 2008, and it is a part of the 6th Framework of the European Union. Warsaw University is represented by a team from the Department of Local Development and Policy directed by prof. Pawel Swianiewicz. There are two research assistants working on the project: Julita Łukomska and Magdalena Wilamowska.
Warsaw University is one of 12 partners of the project coordinated by the Metropolitan Regiona of Hannover. Our other partners are: the University of the West of England, Bristol, Darmstadt Technical University, the University of Twente, Politecnico di Milano, the University of Göteborg, Panteion University, Athens, the Centre for Regional Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Pecs, Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research, Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning, Berlin, and EUROCITIES.
G-FORS will develop an innovative analytical model for the study of governance for sustainability, focusing on the synergy between new governance modes and different forms of knowledge, taking into account the rapid changes in the knowledge society. For this purpose, G-FORS will identify a range of different forms of knowledge and analyze how these different forms of knowledge may interact in the context of particular governance arrangements to produce `reflexive knowledge’ and contribute to a more legitimate understanding of sustainability. On the empirical level G-FORS will concentrate on cases related to the implementation of EU directives concerning air pollution and environment planning in a multi-level governance context.
Passiveness of Local Governments as a Factor Strengthening Regional Disparities in Poland
A project financed by the Polish Ministry for Academic Research, implemented in 2005 and 2006 and coordinated by Wojciech Dziemianowicz.
The project’s main goal is to identify the causes of local governments’ passivity concerning the absorption of external funds, especially founds from the European Union programmes. That passive attitude of local governments in Poland is significantly strengthening regional diversity. There are many causes of the passive attitude of local governments, but personal features of local leaders and cultural background including local environment features may be placed among the most important.
A better understanding of the reasons of passiveness will allow us to formulate practical recommendations.
The empirical research is based on:
• an analysis of documents and data related to EU funds absorption;
• a survey of over 800 local authorities;
• six case studies of municipalities which have not been implementing any projects co-financed by EU programmes yet.
Territorial Consolidation Reforms in Europe
Project financed by the grant from Open Society Institute (Local Governemnt Reform Initiative) conducted from 2008-2010.

SOCCOH – The Challenge of Socio-Economic Cohesion in the Enlarged European Union
The project’s implementation ranges from 2006 to 2007, and it is a part of the 6th Framework of the European Union. Warsaw University is represented by a team from the Department of Local Development and Policy directed by prof. Pawel Swianiewicz. Four other team members are: Jan Herbst, Marta Lackowska, prof. Andrzej Lisowski and Adam Mielczarek.
The project is coordinated by the London School of Economics, while other partners are: Darmstadt Technical University, the Czech Academy of Sciences, Central European University in Budapest, University Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Centre for Liberal Studies, Sofia and University Babes-Bolyai in Cluj.
The project focuses on identifying patterns of interactions between the levels of social capital and the capacity of civil society to choose effective and efficient development policy strategies and implementation processes to achieve the goal of sustainable development. Hence, the principal goal of the project is threefold:
1. to identify existing differences in the structure of civil society between the old (Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece) and new States (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary) as well as Candidate States (Bulgaria, Romania) by evaluating the presence of social capital in different territorial contexts;
2. to assess how these differences in strength of social capital and civil society relate to the levels of effectiveness and efficiency of development policies in these countries;
to identify the ways in which cohesion policy may be used to strengthen the level of social capital and civil society at large, thus indirectly affecting the levels of effectiveness and efficiency of development policy.
In Poland we investigate the implementation of Structural Funds 2004-2006 in Dolnoslaski Region (South-Western Poland).
Competitiveness and Innovation of Companies in Warmia and Mazury Region
A project implemented in 2005 and 2006 together with Warmia and Mazury Regional Government and Warmia and Mazury University in Olsztyn. The final report was published in:
Dziemanowicz, Juchniewicz, Samulowski, Szmigiel (eds.) Konkurencyjność i innowacyjność gospodarki Warmii i Mazur, (Competitiveness and Innovativeness of Warmia and Mazury Region), Olsztyn: Urząd Marszałkowski, 2006.
  • Innovation in local governments of Warmia and Mazury Region in competition for external investments
A project implemented in partnership with Warmia and Mazury Agency for Regional Development. Prof. Wojciech Dziemianowicz coordinates the Warsaw University team working on the project.
There are three main stages of the project:
  • a diagnosis of the investment attractiveness of Warmia and Mazury region municipalities,
  • a training for local government staff,
    preparation of three model strategies for attracting foreign investments.

  • International Metropolitan Observatory
A project coordinated by prof. Vincent Hoffmann-Martinot from the University of Bordeaux and prof. Jeffrey Sellers from the University of California in Los Angeles. The project covers more than a dozen of countries. In Poland it is coordinated by prof. Pawel Swianiewicz, supported by Marta Lackowska.
The IMO project has two aims. It seeks to gather and systematize a global database of information on critical aspects of metropolitan regions, while also undertaking a coordinated series of workshops to analyze crucial and poorly understood aspects of politics and governance in these settings from a systematic transnational perspective.
It concentrates on agglomerations with over 200,000 residents.
The first set of project papers was published in: V. Hoffmann-Martinot, J. Sellers (eds.)  Metropolitanization and Political Change, Opladen: Verlag fur Sozialwissenschaften, 2005. (The chapter on Poland: P. Swianiewicz, U. Klimska: „Polish Metropolitan Areas: Vanilla Centres, Sandwich Suburbs", p. 303-334).
The following phases of the project will consider:
• the political ecology of metropolis (effects of emerging metropolitan patterns on political orientation and participation);
• the patterns of metropolitan governance.
Local Political Leaders in Europe
An international research project, implemented from 2002 to 2006, involving researchers from 17 European countries. The survey of mayors of cities with over 10,000 residents was conducted in a similar way in all of these countries in 2003. In Poland we collected over 250 responses.
The final report was published in: H Bäck, H Heinelt & A Magnier (eds) The European Mayor: political leaders in the changing context of local democracy, Opladen: Verlag fur Sozialwissenschaften, 2006. Pawel Swianiewicz is a co-author of the chapter: “Divided loyalties? Mayors between party representation and local community interests".
Attention: The list contains only selecteds items published before 2010. Information on quotations provided for publications with over 20 quotations according to Publish or Perish (access: November 2013)