Consequences of the pandemic and new development opportunities for Polish cities in the (post-)COVID-19 era

Magdalena Szmytkowska


Relevance. The coronavirus pandemic has become the most unexpected global phenomenon in 2020, with a number of equally unexpected consequences. The explosive spread of Covid-19 is mostly perceived the negative light, especially in the context of the threat it posed to the health and lives of millions of people. However, it has been noticed that as a result of the pandemic and lockdown, some negative socio-economic processes have been slowed down. Thus, some of the consequences of the pandemic and lockdown can be perceived as new development opportunities.

Research objective. This article aims to describe the new phenomena and processes caused by the pandemic in Polish cities which may have a positive impact on urban development. We also intend to indicate potential directions and development opportunities in cities as a result of the pandemic experience.

Data and methods. Methodologically, the work combines two main research methods. First, we analysed the research literature and materials of selected Polish and foreign media dealing with the pandemic and its impact on cities, especially in the spatial and social dimensions. Then we considered the available quantitative data describing the current epidemiological situation in Polish regions.

Results and conclusions. Research on the development of Covid-19 in Polish cities is difficult because the official data published daily are aggregated only on the regional level. We have found the following consequences of the pandemic that can be considered as positive: relief from overtourism and speculation on the housing rental market, revival of urban nature, revival of the importance of local and regional identity and goods and resurgence of human solidarity and support for entrepreneurs. The development potential of cities in the post-Covid-19 era should be considered in the context of the following dilemmas and concepts: densification vs. disaggregation, concept of a 15-minute city, city as a system and the need for a participatory urban policy.


coronavirus, COVID-19, development opportunities, city, urban space, Poland

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