The Social Transformation of Large Housing Estates in Poland at the Turn of the 21st Century
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Large housing estates make up an essential portion of the housing stock in the urban structure of Polish cities. It was expected that large housing estates in Poland might experience social decline in the 1990s, but several research projects conducted in the estates did not identify any increase in social degradation. This article examines the social structure of the residents of large housing estates in Poland and identifies the main trends in current social changes. The time frame of ongoing transformations in the social structure was set around the turn of the 21st century. This analysis is based on Polish 1988 and 2002 National Census data, the Polish PESEL population database (2011), and the author’s survey data (2010–2012). Research was conducted in seven housing estates in fi ve Polish cities or towns (Poznań, Kraków, Tarnów, Dzierżoniów, and Żyrardów) and focused on analysing the sizes and types of households and their economic situation and the social structure of the estates. Results showed that large housing estates continue to have a heterogeneous social structure and to resist social deprivation processes. Depending on the period when a particular estate was built it is possible to observe distinctive features of housing estates, such as social structure renewal in housing estates from the 1950s and 1960s, residential ageing in those from the 1970s, and the risk of an exodus of young residents from estates from the 1980s. Those shared problems may soon become decisive for the future development of large estates.
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