GaWC Research Bulletin 259

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Note: This Research Bulletin is the English version of RB 240.


Three Rivals - Three Paths1

M. Bańczyk and T. Achrem*



The article aims to assess the hierarchical position and the perspectives of development of the three main Polish metropolises, one of them being a lone leader, the second a daring usurper, and the third a happy lagger. These cities by no means constitute the full list of metropolital areas2 in Poland, but have been chosen for the analysis as the most distinctive representatives of the main trends. As for the basis of the ranking, we identify six main characteristics: (1) economic potential, (2) profile and rank among other cities in the country, (3) participation in the global network, (4) recognition worldwide, (5) national recognition, as well as (6) city's creativity. The choice of the criteria for each category was arbitrary, as well as heavily influenced by the availability of sources.

Historical Context

It is fitting to start the analysis by presenting the historical context for each city. Poznan is the oldest of the three. After the Baptism in 966 Mieszko I, the first Polish ruler, established it as the capital. The city was also the seat of Jordan, the first bishop of Poland in 968, as well as Przemysl II who united Poland after the Fragmentation. During the reign of Kazimierz the Great and the first members of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Poznan was the second most important city in Poland, right after Kraków, yet its importance continually waned with time. During its affiliation with Prussia, its importance among other German cities diminished even further. At the beginning it was the 9 th or 10 th most populated German city, yet by the end of the nineteenth century it was ranked as the 27 th. It was not until the turn of the nineteenth century, when German authorities allowed for the development of the suburban areas. In 1900 the currently important districts of Lazarz, Wilda and Jezyce were joined with the city, followed by parts of Winiary and Solacz in 1907. The increase in the city area was from 947 to 3003 ha, and its population increased from 75.000 (1899) to 156.000 (1918). In 1902 emperor Wilhelm II approved the deconstruction of city fortifications. Since then Poznan would finally start to develop. The city's political prominence also increased, as Wilhelm II declared it his royal residence. The exchange of population after World War I was fluent enough not to create a socio-economical breakdown, yet the end of World War II left Poznan with much of its buildings destroyed – more than 60% of the Old Market and surrounding areas were ruined. However, it wasn't enough to completely bring the infrastructure down. At the same time the community was preserved intact, which allowed for a rapid development of Poznan at the beginning of the 90s of the twentieth century.

Wroclaw is the capital of Silesia, the most developed part of medieval Poland. In 1335 it was annexed by the Czech and in 1526 came under the rule of the Habsburgs alongside the Czech Kingdom. Throughout this period it was the second most important city of the Czech Kingdom, definitely more developed than Poland at that time. Since 1741 Wroclaw became part of Prussia, and until 1945, the German Reich. Up until the 1930s, Wroclaw boasted double, and at times triple the population of Poznan. In 1939 the population was about 650.000 people, that is the same as it is now. During the period from the end of the nineteenth century until the half of the twentieth century, Wroclaw was among the top five most important German cities, comparable to Munich and Hamburg. Throughout the thousand years of Polish history it is impossible to find a more prominent European city (10 Nobel Prize winners, well developed economy, several consulates, a magnificent university, concert halls renowned throughout the whole Europe, well developed infrastructure, over 300 bridges, beautiful tall buildings.) Since the late medieval period until 1945 Wroclaw was the top class European metropolis. From the city's perspective, the year 1945 was a disaster. Nearly 100% of the population, the most important part of the city, was exchanged. The legacy of whole generations was forfeited. Today's Wroclaw can only allude to its pre-war grandeur. Some of the elements are visible in the infrastructure as well as the overall city layout. However, it is now a town of a completely different sort (pauperized populace, destroyed public buildings, whole districts left unrebuilded). To quote the headline of the ARCHITEKTURA monthly (11/2006): “ Wroclaw is a city that is to come to happen.”

Warsaw is a young town in comparison, as its history starts in the thirteenth century. It became part of the Kingdom of Poland in 1526, and in 1546 the process of changing it into the national capital was initiated. This change of function brought about a gradual buildup of the city's prominence in the nation. Throughout the medieval and renaissance periods its importance as a European city was second-rate, as the most prominent cities at that time were Gdansk, Lwow, and Kraków at the very beginning. In the end, Warsaw never managed to achieve the level of importance of Kraków under Jagiellonian reign. At the beginning of World War I the population of Warsaw was 800.000, and right before World War II – 1.250.000. The pre-war Warsaw has managed to assume an important position among European cities. It also dominated over other Polish cities, boasting over 4,5 times the population of Poznan, and over 5 times the population of Kraków. However, Warsaw has never been a rich city, like for example Wroclaw or Gdansk, throughout its history, the main stimulus for development was the status of the capital city. War managed to destroy both the material and social strata of the city, and the elimination of the Jewish populace was also disastrous to the economical standing of the city.

To sum up, the historical context makes up for a number of consequences for each of the three cities, as far as their contemporary status is concerned: Poznan exhibits continuity in its population's composition, a continual process of accumulation, as well as frugality deeply ingrained during the partitions. On the other hand, Wroclaw boasts a marvelous material network (destroyed during the war), and a disjointed continuity both in the population's composition and the process of accumulation. Lastly, Warsaw is a capital city with a destroyed material network, disjointed continuity of population and, consequently, the accumulation process. In the year 1990 the economic situation of each of the cities is similar. The differences in GDP are irrelevant. The current GDP of Warsaw is about 132% of the European Union average, Poznan 's around 95%. By comparison, Berlin 's GDP stands at only 96%, Dresden 83% and Leipzig 82%. On the other hand, Wroclaw appears far away from the leaders in this ranking, since its GDP is only about 66% of the EU average. In short, it can be said that Poznan 's strength is its internal resources. However, these resources, even backed with advantageous population structure and a high degree of concentration of the capital, are simply not enough. On the other hand, Warsaw and Wroclaw manage to develop by attracting foreign capital, people and ideas, which constitutes their strength in the postmodern world. The lack of own resources is responsible for the 43% difference between Poznan and Wroclaw 's GDP (A difference which continued to grow after 1990). However, the current policy of Wroclaw 's government appears very reasonable. The universally approved policy of openness to foreign investment should allow its rewards to be reaped pretty soon. This policy may indicate that it aims to replicate Warsaw 's success. On the other hand, Poznan appears to have reached the limits of its current autarkic policy. No connectivity and aversion towards foreign investment makes for its slowly going downhill in the city rankings.

Current Conditions for Growth

As far as the rivalry between Polish cities is concerned, we do live in a special time. Decisions made in the next few years and decades will have a bearing on whole generations. Recently, there has been an influx of direct investment, both foreign and domestic, as well as EU grants to bridge the gap in development between Poland and the West. The scale of the investment is comparable to that of the Marshall 's Plan, and we can say that after 60 years Poland has finally gotten its new Recovery Program. What is more, among the three favorite regions for investment (South-Western Asia, Latin America, Central-West Europe) it is our region that steadily gathers momentum. The ability to drum up investor's capital, coupled with honest management and its allocation to the areas that create a permanent free market advantage – these are the goals for today, and their success makes for a lasting effect in the future.

An important criterion for the assessment and ranking of a city is the mobility of its inhabitants. Those who have to traverse the greatest distances in the shortest amount of time are most often customers of airlines. Poznan-Lawica is unfortunately the only airport out of the top six in Poland to have lost its position. As of the 2004 it was ranked as the fifth, just before Strachowice in Wroclaw. That said, the dynamics of the last two years is not a reason to celebrate. Wile Lawica recorded a 78% growth rate; it is still about a half of the Wroclaw Airport 's 132%. Warsaw-Okecie steadily loses its lead, as its growth rate was only 33%, yet it still services more than a half of all the passengers (52%). We can say that while Warsaw is the definite leader, the second league consists of Kraków-Balice (2,1 mln. passengers, growth rate 200%), Katowice–Pyrzowice (1,3 mln., growth 152%) and Gdansk–Rebiechowo (1,1 mln., growth 170%). A similar view seems to be held by the Ministry of Infrastructure, as the “Information about the directions in civilian aviation until 2010” divides airports into three classes: International connecting point Warsaw – Okecie, Community connecting point Kraków – Balice and Regional accessibility point. The last group consists of, among other ten, the airports in Wroclaw and Poznan.

The ranking by POLITYKA weekly of 500 biggest companies in Poland in year 2005 shows that the largest percent of the companies that have their headquarters in Warsaw. Much has been written about mass relocation of company centrals to Warsaw, companies which offer the best paid and the most creative job opportunities. Great central offices are being located there, like in Byzantium, and the CEOs of the biggest companies prefer to work there as well, since it is the place where “things get done.” Hence, while production and logistics centers remain in the provinces, company headquarters head for the metropolis. Among the companies which withdrew their best paid divisions (for example: marketing and sales, finances, human resources, R&D, IT, legal and administrative, etc.) from Poznan to Warsaw in the last years were: Bank Zachodni WBK, Nestlé, S.C. Johnson, Aral, AWR Wprost, Bestfoods (Unilever), ExxonMobil, GlaxoSmithKline, Morliny. This tendency recently appears to have been halted. Poznan remains the second best location for company headquarters, and its suburban industrial parks and logistics centers remain the best suited location for warehouses and production centers.

As far as the real estates market is concerned, price is dictated, apart from the usual supply and demand interplays, by yet another factor – location. In other words, the better the location, the higher the price. The analyses for real estates market are conducted in the six biggest cities: Warsaw, Kraków, Wroclaw, Trójmiasto, Lódz and Poznan. According to redNet Property Group (XII 2006) the average prices of new apartments per square meter are: in Warsaw 7.354 (increase XII 2005 – XII 2006 by 51%), in Kraków 7.201 (increase by 70%), in Wroclaw 6.548 (74% increase), in Trójmiasto 5.851 (68% increase), in Lódz 4.436 (53% increase) and 4.356 in Poznan (29% increase). Despite the uneven rates of price increase, the order in which the towns appear in the analysis has not changed. Average prices in the resale market are similar. According to the portal, the prices in PLN per square meter were as follows: Warsaw 7.903 (XII 2005 – XII 2006, increase by 58%), in Kraków 7.172 (62% increase), in Wroclaw 6.282 (85% increase), in Trójmiasto 5.375 (75% increase) and in Poznan 4.783 (36% increase). Again– Wroclaw has the most dynamic changes, Poznan the least.

Criteria for Metropolis Assessment

Economic potential




Property value (metropolitan area)

44,7 bill. PLN

28,6 bill. PLN

209 bill PLN

MT investment (metropolitan area)

3,54 bill. PLN

3,04 bill. PLN

15 bill. PLN

GDP (2004)

28,1 bill. PLN

21,9 bill. PLN

115,2 bill. PLN

GDP per capita (2004)

49.125 PLN

34.351 PLN


Communal income per capita

2.965 PLN

2.993 PLN

4.411 PLN

Company employment rate




State-owned companies




Number of trade companies




Registered economic activity




National ranking (basis: Jalowiecki's potential assessment)




Top 500 Cities Ranking in Polityka (point share)




Top 500 Suburbia Ranking in Polityka (point share)




All statistics are from GUS (Head Statistics Bureau) surveys published in 2006. Metropolital potential rank is based on Bohdan Jalowiecki's assessment “Conditions and Development Chances for Polish Metropolises,” conducted by commission of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. Points in the Polityka ranking of the biggest Polish companies are calculated by assigning points inversely proportional to the rank, first place yield 500, second 499, etc. Hence, Warsaw scores 47.768 points, Poznan 5.967 and Wroclaw 3.830. Next, the results were standardized in proportion to the assumption Citymax = 100.


Even the distribution of the 500 companies in POLITYKA ranking looks meaningful. There are 172 companies in Warsaw, 23 situated in Poznan and 16 in Wroclaw. The advantage remains clear even after taking the population into account, yet as an adjusting parameter it proves to be of questionable value. Warsaw clearly outclasses the other two cities in its ability to attract large companies, eightfold in the case of Poznan, twelve-fold in the case of Wroclaw. However, Poznan outperforms Wroclaw even more if we include the companies situated in the suburban areas (for example, in Poznan these include: Tarnowo Podgórne, Sady, Gadki, Bolechowo, Kazmierz, Komorniki, Wysogotowo, Baranowo). Such an analysis produces different results: 180 companies in Warsaw, 31 in Poznan and 18 in Wroclaw. This time, the difference between Poznan and Wroclaw becomes deeper, and consequently the difference gets smaller for Warsaw and Poznan. The comparison of agglomerations, excluding city centers, shows that the suburban area of Poznan is nominally as strong as in Warsaw. On the other hand, the proportion of strength of the suburban area to the city center shows that Poznan has the most well developed metropolitan area (30% strength of the city center), while the suburban areas of Warsaw and Wroclaw are irrelevant (below 10%).

On the whole, raw economic potential shows a definite advantage in favor of Warsaw, and a noticeable advantage of Poznan over Wroclaw. Recalculating the values per single inhabitant adjusts the balance, as Warsaw 's advantage over Poznan decreases and Poznan 's advantage over Wroclaw increases even further. The end result is that each city becomes a distinctive class in itself: Wroclaw (Lowest), Poznan (Intermediate) and Warsaw (Highest). The factors that contribute to Poznan 's advantage over Wroclaw are employment and economic activity, measured by the number of trade companies and small companies. However, the latter factor exhibits only a marginal difference, dispelling the myth about the multitude of small companies in Poznan. Only national companies are decisively superior in numbers in Poznan, but by nature they do not contribute to prosperity. Given the low value of real estates, investment expenses are similar to those in Wroclaw, that is relatively low. Finally, the superior advantage of economical value per inhabitant over Wroclaw results in much lower communal income. This essentially limits the city from fulfilling its communal function to a larger extent.

On the average, Warsaw takes a definite lead in the economic potential ranking. Taking aggregate factors into consideration, its advantage over Poznan is definite, but singular factors show, that the economical level of Warsaw is within Poznan 's reach. On the other hand, Poznan overshadows Wroclaw in almost every field. The question to be asked at this point is about the permanence of this advantage.

Profile and position in Poland.




Percentage share – Law firms




Percentage share – Advertising agencies




Percentage share – Banks




Industrial employment




Trade and repairs employment




Hotels and restaurants employment




Company and estate services employment




Average apartment price- PLN per sq. meter (XII 2006)




Average apartment price increase (XII 2005 – XII 2006)




Projected average apartment price in 2007 - PLN per sq. meter




New apartments per 1.000 inhabitants in 2005




Real estates primary market value (millions of PLN) in 2006




Employment rates are based on GUS surveys from 2006. Point share in the Law firm ranking is based on the top 100 of RZECZPOSPOLITA Law Firm Rankings 2006, points awarded are inversely proportional to the rank awarded, that is first place – 100, second – 99 etc. The analysis focused on the placement of the biggest firms' headquarters. Next, point totals were standardized proportionally using the Citymax = 100 assumption. Banks and advertising agencies were calculated similarly, but a standard number of points was assigned for each unit present in a given city. Home&Market 2006 monthly customer ratings of advertising companies were used, along with the banking register of the Banking Commission of NBP (National Bank of Poland ). The data for the real estate market analysis are based on the analyses by redNet Property Group.


The economic profile and the city's rank in the business hierarchy in Poland are totally separate from its economic potential. The potential provides only a certain range of possibilities; the rank and profile show both where does the potential come from, and how it is being used. The modern approach towards city development focuses on establishing the profile and rank of a city, based on its ability to attract or generate providers of highly professional services. These services are mostly directed at companies: legal, consulting, research, advertising, financial, etc. A city's rank, and more specifically its perspective for development, is influenced mostly by the situation on the real estate market. Generally speaking, with a similar demand, prices reflect which cities are or will be attractive for business. The number of people working in the company and estate services branch indicates what the city's profile is and how it is developing. Not how fast, but in what direction. Employment rates in hotels and restaurants serves as a similar indicator, while high industrial development rates indicate an anachronism in the city's economy.

Warsaw 's profile is distinctly metropolitan and modern. Employment rates in company services are over six times bigger than in Poznan, while employment in hotels and restaurants is over ten times bigger! This explains why, despite high GDP Poznan appears distinctly provincial when compared to Warsaw. On the other hand, Wroclaw does not appear as such, since company services, hotels and restaurants provide jobs for twice as many people, even though the overall employment rates in Poznan are higher. What is more, the majority of people in Poznan work in the industry (more than in the industrial Lódz or Kraków with Nowa Huta), and services overall tend to be less advanced – trade and repairs. The analysis of the condition of the real estates market bears the same results: Warsaw is the most attractive, afterwards – distinctly – Wroclaw, and finally Poznan. The analysis of specialist companies' location shows that Warsaw is far better than the other two, while Wroclaw slightly outperforms Poznan with respect to the number of law firms and banks, yet it has significantly fewer advertising agencies. That is the one advantage of Poznan, its agencies, like BTL, which operate in other cities as well. However, the headquarters and centrals are situated in Poznan, while regular agencies (sic!) are being opened in Warsaw. Wroclaw cannot boast but one agency on a similar level. However, it supports centrals of such banks as Lukas and eurobank and the global Santander.

To sum it up, Warsaw has the most advanced metropolitan profile, and indisputably holds the first place in the business ranking. Wroclaw is still far away from its level, yet it appears to develop along similar lines. Poznan, on the other hand, appears to be the most anachronistic. Despite a number of illustrious exceptions, it develops along a totally different way than the other two, and its rating is the lowest of the three.

Participation in the Metronetwork (connectivity)





GLOB Law points share





GLOB Accountancy points share






GLOB Bank/Fin points share






GLOB Advertising points share





GLOB Real Estate points share







GLOB Media points share





Entities with foreign capital





Airport activity (no. of passengers)





Increase in no. of passengers 2004 -2006





Number of foreign cities with direct air connection





Number of carriers operational in the airport





No. of foreign tourists in hotel rooms





Statistics of entities with foreign capital are based on 2006 GUS surveys. GLOB points share is calculated on the basis of the modified method by PJ Taylor and DRF Walker, used to assess cities in the global economy, on the basis of the worldwide service companies' presence. A company HQ in a city gives 2 points, while a division or representative yields 1 point. Airport statistics are quoted after the Civilian Aviation Department as well as airport websites.


Connectivity is a relatively new term, introduced into the city development theory during studies of the effects of globalization. It stands for the degree of connection to the international network of competence, capital, people, and ideas exchange. This feature, which we call participation in the Metronetwork, is seen by many researchers (Friedmann, Sassen, Taylor, Kraetke) as the most important benchmark of both the level and potential development of the city. The place where the global companies, leaders in professional services, are located, indicates where such companies have anything to do, where do they transfer the resources to and where are they making and spending their money.

Apart from several exceptions, the overall image is unambiguous. Only Warsaw is an element of the Metronetwork (and, as other analyses show, ranked fairly high, as the 25 th city in Europe and the 40 th worldwide). These exceptions are consulting companies (PWC etc.), which are represented in each bigger city in Poland, among others in Poznan and Wroclaw. Poznan houses a single department of the global advertising agency TBWA, which is tied to the aforementioned BTL phenomenon. Agencies of global banks are present in Wroclaw and Poznan. And one estate consulting company – CB Richard Ellis is present in Poznan. However, in their case GLOB category companies indicate only the minimal level of world city formation. There should be 60 not 6. Differences between on and two companies at this order of magnitude are meaningless, as the magnitude is irrelevant. The indication is that global companies fail to see anything else in Poland except for Warsaw.

The study of the flow of people (in the strict sense) leads to a similar conclusion. The Civilian Aviation Department regularly publishes statistics as to the number of passengers serviced during regular and charter flights. The most recent statistics encapsulate the period of January to November 2006, in comparison to analogous periods in 2005 and 2004. First place is of course occupied by Warsaw, the result for 2006 was 7,5 million passengers. Wroclaw comes fifth, Strachowice airport serviced about ten times less passengers, about 770 thousand. Lawica in Poznan serviced 600 thousand passengers, almost thirteen times less than Okecie, and comes at the sixth place. In 2006 34 foreign carriers and 3 Polish have regularly operated on Polish airports.

Most of them uses the airport in Warsaw (30), Kraków comes second (21), next are Wroclaw (9), Gdansk (8), Katowice (7), and Poznan (6). This image is complemented by the number of foreign tourists and entities with foreign investment in each city. Warsaw comes first, distancing other cities, then Wroclaw and finally Poznan, which loses in this field. The difference is not by much, but the dynamics of air travel shows clearly that one is definitely present.

The implications are easy to establish. Warsaw is the only city in Poland to have found a place in the world. Poznan and Wroclaw continue to exist outside the global network, yet Wroclaw seems to gradually get more in touch with the Metronetwork.

City recognition worldwide





Number of Google results, foreign





BBC NEWS mentions





CNN mentions





FAZ mentions





The Economist mentions





Wall Street Journals mentions





Financial Times mentions





Reuters mentions





AP mentions





AFP mentions






The data is based on the official websites of the respective media. The number of Google results is calculated omitting websites in Polish, as well portals in languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.


City recognition constitutes features and images appearing in people's minds when they hear the city name, see the emblem or logo. It needn't be tied to any measurable real qualities, and sometimes recognition greatly surpasses these. Recognition is often more important then economic qualities when it comes to decision-making. The detailed study of the exact effect of the recognition of a city as a ‘brand' for Warsaw, Wroclaw and Poznan would require significant work and funding. However, we can posit indirectly that recognition first requires coming to being in people's consciousness.

The number of Google results indicates a general direction of the phenomenon, but not necessarily the scale. In this case, we cannot relativise Warsaw 's clear advantage to the number of inhabitants. However, the analysis of the number of times being mentioned on the world's most important media and information agencies gives more clear results. The total mentions (as of 31.12.2006) for Warsaw is 10.569, for Poznan 328, and 260 for Wroclaw. Poznan and Wroclaw practically do not exist at all in world media. And what does not exist in the media does not exist in consciousness. Finally, what does not exist in people's consciousness ceases to function in reality. It does not appear in conversations, analyses, discussions. It is not being taken into account when decisions are to be made about holidays, studies, work, investing, and living.

Warsaw is acknowledged in the world, while not among the most prominent, not even on the same level as Prague (1.790 mentions in REUTERS), but nonetheless the general image is clear. These results say nothing about Warsaw as a brand, but they do about its place in the foreigners' consciousness. On the other hand, the awareness of brands such as Poznan and Wroclaw can be said not to exist at all.

City recognition in Poland





Number of results on Google PL





Image – education





Image – business and trade





Image – culture*




Image – industry





Image – modernity, “westernness”





Image – entertainment, club life





Image – historical importance, tradition*





Image – distinctive atmosphere





Image – fastest development





Average score





Average rank






The statistics on the number of Google results are based on the search engine's own statistics. Other data are based on a nationwide PGD survey conducted in May and June 2006 by commission of METROPOLIA POZNAN consortium in big and average sized cities, on the sample of N = 850. The respondents were asked to specify the three top cities in each category. Next, points were awarded to each city, inversely proportional to the rank: first place – three points, second place two, and third place one point. Once the responses were gathered, the results were standardized, and 100 points was awarded to the best city in each category. Kraków which is omitted from this study has won in the categories marked with *


Professional studies concerning the strength of a territorial brand aren't available (and even worldwide are considered experimental and are still rarely conducted). However, the PGD survey allows for analyzing the main points of recognition of each main city in Poland.

The dominance of Warsaw in nearly all categories (it only lost to Kraków in cultural and historical aspects) is not at all surprising. What is surprising, however, is that Wroclaw is believed to surpass Poznan in seven out of nine categories. It is believed to be better when it comes to: education, culture, industry, leisure and entertainment, unique customs and atmosphere and historical importance. It is also perceived as a faster developing city.

A complete oddity is Wroclaw 's advantage in the category of local culture and historical importance. The city which is oldest and the most ingrained in local culture out of the other three loses to Wroclaw, which for the most part of its history was part of either Czech or Germany, moreover, it doesn't exhibit any cultural or regional features whatsoever. This advantage, despite noticeably poorer resources, results only from better promotion and publicity.

In Poland, as far as the brand recognition is concerned, Warsaw remains the indisputable leader. Wroclaw comes out surprisingly well, with Poznan turning up last.

City creativity





Music/theater – number of shows





Music/theater – audience





Cinemas – number of shows





Cinemas – visitors





Art galleries – exhibitions





Art galleries – visitors





Art galleries - events





Museums – exhibitions





Museums – foreign exhibitions




Museums - visitors





Number of art school students





Non-governmental organizations





All statistics come from GUS surveys from 2006 about the state of culture in 2005.

The number of non-governmental organizations is based on portal statistics.


Richard Florida's creative class theory proposed at the beginning of the twenty first century is among the most often discussed by economists, urban researchers and sociologists. According to this theory, city development is based on domains which take advantage of human creativity, based on intellectual resources, as well as variety and innovation. Florida calculated the creativity index for over 300 cities in the US, and made drastic changes to the map of the most important American cities. Florida 's theory attempts to explain why, for instance, Detroit and Norfolk keep losing importance to San Francisco or Austin. He claimed that the key element was the cultural and creative sectors. The path of development through these sectors is less susceptible to obstacles, such as cheaper competition, as it is based on resources which are impossible to falsify. It is also much faster and more in tune with the post-industrial world. Despite its experimental nature, Florida 's methodology was used in the last couple of years to calculate the Creativity Index of some cities outside the US, in Europe, Asia as well as in the Pacific. While we still possess insufficient data to recreate this move, we are able to show the differences between our chosen cities from the standpoint of the theory of creativity.

Warsaw not only looks the best in the comparison to the other two cities, but also to other West European countries, which do not take part in this analysis (for example, the average number of visitors in museums, which surpasses an analogous average value in France). Even when taking into account the differences in population, the comparison still looks good for Warsaw. However, the difference is not that bad for Wroclaw, especially should we focus on the ability to attract foreign exhibitions.

Poznan shows a fair level of participation in theatrical and music events, as well as very good cinema attendance. In both areas it surpasses Wroclaw and Warsaw (reckoned per 1000 inhabitants.) However, movies are the least stimulating and interactive of the creative activities. As far as the other categories are concerned, outside of theater Poznan loses points in comparison with Wroclaw, especially as far as the number of foreign exhibitions is concerned, number of visitors at the galleries, museums, and the number of events. It is clear that Poznan 's rhythm can only be described as lethargic.

Another feature, which cannot be seen in the statistics, is the position of Poznan 's designers, visible through numerous awards. They win praise for their companies (mostly furniture, clothing and interior design), or join with the aforementioned advertising agencies, publishing houses and graphics studios. This is a the rare resource of creative professionals, who win renown mainly outside of Poznan, especially when confronted with the overall cultural dullness.

To conclude, creativity on the city level seems to be developing the most in Warsaw. It is also clearly seen in Wroclaw. While a strong class of creative professional individuals emerges in Poznan, it doesn't add to the overall creativity of the city. A stronger response is only elicited by the music and theatrical scene, alongside the eagerly visited cinemas.



* Marek Bańczyk and Tomasz Achrem are founding members of Konsorcjum Metropolia POZNAN, Poland-based think-tank dedicated to research and concepts on contemporary metropolies. E-mail:

1. The article in its extended and more journalistic form was first published in polish in the METROPOLIA monthly, issue 1 (2) / 2007.

2. Polish metropolitan areas most often include: Warsaw, Kraków, Poznan, Wroclaw, Lódz, Trójmiasto, Silesian conurbation, sometimes with the rare addition of Szczecin, Bydgoszcz-Torun, and even more rarely Rzeszów and Bialystok.


Edited and posted on the web on 19th February 2008