Regional differentiation of economic growth in Poland between 1995 and 2015. The paper explores the regional differentiation of economic growth in Poland between 1995 and 2015 in terms of GDP per capita. The historically lagging-behind regions of eastern Poland has shown relatively high dynamics and reduced the gap vis-à-vis Western European regions. At the same time, they have not been catching up with the fastest growing metropolitan areas, which leads to increased inter-regional disparities in the country. The lowest rate of growth is characteristic of northern regions and western borderland, which is related to their social and cultural features, including poor human capital, and limited internal market. There is moderate correlation between regional economic growth and the quality of life. The least favourable situation in both respects is found in the German borderland.
The subject of the study are strategies for the development of 9 cities, which are among the strongest centres outside the current capitals of regions (in Polish: voivodeships) in the least-developed Polish regions. These cities can give the chance to activate their surroundings. Good strategies that increase the competitiveness of cities and stimulate development can contribute to this. The aim of the research was to fi nd answers to the questions whether and to what extent the studied strategies: (1) are in line with the definition and methodology of strategic planning; (2) recognize and use specific combinations of developmental factors; (3) can contribute to the development of their surroundings. The research method involved the analysis of the strategic plans in the light of the above questions. The strategies studied are not fully in line with the strategy defi nition. They contain errors and methodological flaws commonly encountered in other strategies. They use the specificity of developmental factors, but without conscious, methodical recognition of their combinations and without exposing them. The author signals methodical problems specific to the strategic planning in territorial units and makes suggestions for planning practice.