The urban local centre: from the centrally-planned economy to the capitalist city. The experience of the Ursynów district in Warsaw

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Katarzyna Sadowy


The polycentric structure of the city reflects the role of various stakeholders, public and private, in shaping the urban development and life quality. The paper investigates the role of the public and private sector in creation of the local centres in neighbourhoods, hubs concentrating the services and amenities indispensable for modern life. The analysis is based on the case study of the Ursynów district in Warsaw, designed and constructed mainly in the 1980s, but with several infrastructural, housing, and commercial investments realised after 1989. The study encompassed the location of local centres, their functions, and spatial forms. The findings demonstrate that both public and private sectors play intertwined and significant roles for the local centres and create a synergy effect in such areas. The results of the study also show the evolutionary nature of the local centres’ development. The main elements of the design persist, but the market-oriented economy and decentralised democratic institutions allowed them to continue the original plans, while making the local centres more attractive and richer function-wise than it was possible during the centrally-planned period.


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Sadowy, K. (2021). The urban local centre: from the centrally-planned economy to the capitalist city. The experience of the Ursynów district in Warsaw. Journal of Management and Financial Sciences, (44), 41-59. Retrieved from


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