Geographia. Studia et Dissertationes, T. 31 (2009), s. 105-125
The aim of this paper is to pay attention to important geographical problem, i.e. interurbationsand to present the role, which they play in regional settlement systems. The term interurbation,introduced into the geography more than the half of century ago, did not see the separate theoretical‑explaining or empirical study done in the Polish geographical literature.The given paper is an attempt to solve both of above‑mentionedcurrents. But the common backgroundis the geographical‑historicalaspect of explanations presented.This study emphasizes that in respect of specific spatial‑functionalconnection scheme the interurbationscan be considered from the point of view of agglomerations as well as conurbations.The overlapping of elements typical for two different types of settlement patterns induced the authorof the given paper to treat them as the separate form, which is only subordinated to so‑calledtwin cities.Finally the interurbation was defined as the complex of two neighbouring, nearly located (to10—12 km) cities of different, but complementary functions and thus unifying the whole pattern.Figure 1 and table 1 serve to present the picture of interurbations in Poland. In the first case themost essential elements defining the development mechanism of the pattern discussed were pointedout. The table was constructed to present the selected socio‑economical features differing both typesof cities and being a part of interurbation.In the further part of the paper the typology of interurbations was made basing on criteria asfollows:— genetic,— dynamical (legal‑administrative),— historical,— complexity,— size,— economical base,— functional.The list of typological criteria presented was constructed to include different elements of geographicalresearch: spatial, economical, functional or social. Particular criteria were supported byexamples from contemporary and historical interurbations, located in the area of Poland.Interurbations in the area of Poland played the essential role in the shaping of regional settlementnetworks. In the period from the 13th century till the 20th century about 80 complexes of this typeoriginated. It can be assumed in a rather careful way that in patterns investigated in this study about10—15% of all cities functioned, which ever originated in Polish lands. It seems that the high numberof cities located in twin patterns of this type should cause larger interest in this problem.Actual problem is still the question of necessity to distinguish interurbation in the epoch of distancemeasuring in the scale of time not in geographical distance. Taking into account every above‑mentioneddoubt, interurbations can contemporarily have the character of twin cities, where spatialnearness as well as relations with neighbourhood lying beyond the given pattern is treated to an equaldegree. Economy and spatial connection scheme globalisation causes that stimulating and developmentimpulses of the contemporary cities have their source and mouth back from local markets. Butthe last‑mentionedones to larger and larger degree have only completing character.