Jadwiga Konieczna, Dariusz Konieczny


Rural areas, defined as land outside towns, except industrial areas, account for over 93% of the area of Poland. They are attractive as a places of work, residence, leisure, as well as places where agricultural and non-agricultural business activities can be conducted. Agriculture is naturally associated with rural areas. Currently, apart from the agricultural function and (depending on the socioeconomic, natural or historical conditions) rural areas are also places of leisure, recreation, residence or industrial activities. This is a consequence of implementation of the concept of multi-functional development of rural areas, in which conditions are created for diverse business activities, while respecting environmental constraints. Such a multifunctional approach must take into account the interests of all parties to avoid spatial conflicts. Therefore, actions aimed at the development of rural areas should be based on an in-depth analysis of the value of the area under consideration, they should take into account natural conditions (soil, climate, terrain) of the land for conducting agricultural activities, but also take into account environmental, social and economic aspects.
Objective and historical conditions affecting agriculture in Poland and the experience gained so far indicate that there is a need to change the spatial arrangement of agricultural areas. This is because of the characteristic features of agriculture in Poland, which include a disadvantageous structure of farms in terms of their area, small size of farms, insufficient technical infrastructure in villages and difficult soil conditions. Rural areas in Poland, including agriculture, are undergoing deep structural changes in regard to agricultural production, but also to farm size and layout, demographic and spatial structures as well as technical and social infrastructure. The changes taking place in rural areas in Poland are greatly affected by the Common Agricultural Policy in the European Union. As a member of the EU, Poland has been receiving aid since 2004 and has been implementing actions within Rural Development Programmes.
The aim of this paper is to analyse the transformations that have been taking place in rural areas in Poland and to present selected factors and causes of the changes in rural spaces.

Keywords: rural areas, rural development, spatial transformations  

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