|Abstract: ||The problem of town development, in view of an increasing significance of the urbanization
process, constitutes one of the most important issues in geographical sciences. It also concerns a
geographical history within the subject-matter of the book in question.
The issue raised in the very work refers to the explanation of the urbanization process in
most of the parts of Poland, in the context of a locational pattern of a network system type.
The network system model was created in the1980s as one of the reactions to commonness,
and, at the same time, a certain problematicity of using the conception of central places. It was
defined by the American researchers (P. Hohenberg and L.H. Lees in The Making of Urban
Europe 1000 1950, the first edition of which appeared in 1985).
The authors, using different examples, define the network system model in the early modern
Europe, proving that the town development for this particular period of time should be interpreted
with the use of their conception.
Many attributes of town development appear in P. Hohenberg and L.H. Lees s model. These
include town functions, town connections, social specificity, geographical conditions which differentiate
it significantly from the conception of central places. The authors, in reference to the
conception under discussion, point to such features of many early modern towns as networkness,
heterogeneity, mercenary functions, unspecified economic base, irregularity of socio-economic
connections or departure from town hierarchy.
The features of town and network development described in this conception define them as
the attributes of locational patterns of a mixed type, that is, the ones with the elements typical of
both the central and specialized places at the same time.
The conception of a locational pattern of towns of a network system type is a relatively new
research proposal so it does not have many references in the form of the empirical studies yet.
The book in question is an attempt to refer to the model hinted at above, paying attention to the
specificity of town development in the area of Poland.
The locational pattern of towns of a network system type included in the title was defined as
a formation developing from the half of the 15th century to the end of the 18th century in the basin
of the Vistula. It was discussed only with reference to the areas within the borderlines of Poland
A geographical-historical aspect of the studies determined the need to present it both from
the structural and dynamic perspective. What was dealt with included:
- the author's typology of town constituting the system in question, emphasizing different functional
types and connection systems, as well as their significance and role, - dynamics of development in which the urbanization progress was taken into account, both in
a structural and functional perspective, which constituted one of the most important references
to the network system conception,
- a structure of network within the frame of two basic research areas which P. Hohenberg and
L.H. Lees proposed to name foreland and hinterland.
The work under discussion is actually the first Polish attempt to use the network system
model where the theoretical output and the criticism of town geography was used on the one
hand, as well as information available in publications and source materials within the scope of
town history on the other.
An important element of the book constitutes an index of towns which was created within
the system in question or was "absorbed" into the sphere of its influence. The index ordered the
towns according to such features as a historical genesis, location in geographical-historical regions,
functional typology and location within the system.
Apart from the index at the end of the textual part of the work, the book contains tables and
figures approximating information on town development according to the network system conception
included in the title.|