POLYCENTRISM AND URBAN NETWORK CREATION POSSIBILITIES AND WEAKNESSES IN ZEMGALE
The majority of the urban areas in Latvia are particularly small towns. They are not significant industrial or knowledge hubs or regional
development centres, and this condition prompts the question, in what way they could develop. In accordance with the urban hierarchy
approach, urban network creation and specialisation development could provide development of these towns.
This paper focuses on two aims. Firstly, to research the theoretical basis of polycentrism and the two concepts of polycentrism: the manydevelopment
centres concept and urban network concept. Secondly, to analyse urban network creation and development opportunities in the
small towns of Zemgale.
The authors have collected theoretical cognitions on polycentrism concepts developed by different scientists. The authors have also
analysed the smallest towns in Zemgale to gain perspective on the cooperation possibilities of these towns.
The following generally accepted scientific methods have been used for the development of the present paper: survey of scientific literature,
methods of SWOT analysis, and pair analysis. The factors selected from the SWOT analysis are grouped according to the following criteria:
socio-economic and financial factors, infrastructure factors, and political factors.
The theoreticians are united in the idea that the smaller a town is the straighter specialisation it needs for successful development. Hence,
specialisation development provides cooperation and promotes urban networking. Cooperation between small towns in Zemgale was not
observed at that time. There were several sporadic collaborative projects between towns but they were not characterised as a strong trend.
On the contrary, these collaborative projects indicate that municipalities are interested in developing this opportunity and in the future, this
cooperation may transform into full value urban networks. The article comprises 3 tables and 10 figures.
Keyword(s): polycentrism concepts, urban network, Zemgale
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