Changing patterns of city-Hinterland relations in Central and East European borderlands: Szczecin on the edge of Poland and Germany

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Balogh, Péter
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Springer Netherlands
This paper examines cross-border cooperation in a broader European context, looking in particular at the experiences of the Szczecin region since the end of the communist rule in 1990. Political reform allowed local and regional governments to create direct linkages with regions in neighbouring countries, as well as with regions further afield. However, as well as administrative and geographical factors, historic and political factors can play a role in the development of cross-border relations and the ability of a city or region to fulfil its broader locational potential. This is particularly true in the case of Szczecin, which, as the city of Stettin, was part of Germany until 1945. After becoming part of Poland, it turned its back on that part of its former hinterland in Germany, and rather than being orientated towards Berlin and the West bank of the Oder, it became oriented towards Warsaw. After 1990, Berlin and Mecklenburg-Vorpommen in Germany favoured closer economic and political collaboration, both to promote development on their territories and to restore the region's relative centrality within Central Europe. However, the Polish government is far more centralised than the German one, and cross-border cooperation was straitened because of this. In addition, local and national politics also influenced the strength and breadth of cooperation. Despite this, cooperation between Szczecin and the neighbouring German regions has grown and continues to grow, both formally, through joint agreements, and plans, and informally through bottom-up cooperation, such as cross-border migration in search of housing, cross-border trade in goods and services and more recently, the development of Szczecin as a low-cost flight destination. Such cooperation has been enhanced by Szczecin's participation in broader European networks. Additional national actors have to some extent removed some of the political sensibility attached to cooperation with Germany alone.
Szczecin , határon átnyúló kapcsolat , városfejlesztés , városfejlesztés - Szczecin , város-városkörnyék kapcsolat
Buček J; Ryder A (szerk.) Governance in Transition. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 2014. [!2015] pp. 175-194. (Springer Geography) (ISBN:978-94-007-5502-4)