The article is based on the results of the study which aimed to show the picture of institutional change on the local level after the system transition in Poland. There are at least two kinds of pictures that can be drawn: one coming from official data and the other from in-depth interviews with local leaders. Although those pictures are in large part consistent, they seem anamorphic - giving the perspectives of somewhat different angles. One of the main conclusions of the study is that there are significant signs of the relationship between social characteristics of community and local development. This finding is consistent with social capital theory. Other conclusions concern the perception of local development and its impact on the perception of the whole system transition in Poland.