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Abstract

The urban form creates the city structure, whose spatial values not only shape the functionality of the city, but also its identity, whose the most important determinant is the urban tissue. The subject of the study is the analysis of selected historical areas of Cracow in the scope of composition and readability of their urban structure. The analysis focuses on the identification of the most important aspects of spatial renewal processes of these spaces. These processes aimed at strengthening their potential as local centres, that can become a factor stimulating the development of the individual urban units. The increase in the attractiveness and quality of public spaces will positively affect the degree of their perception by the inhabitants and the social relations taking place in them. This in turn, influences the degree of the social involvement in development processes and the creation of more or less spontaneous, bottom-up activities.
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Abstract

Local service centre, defined as multi-functional public space providing access to everyday services, promoting social integration and building local identity, is an essential hub in the urban service sector. From the public policy perspective appropriate location and furnishing of local service centres is a basic condition for shaping territorial cohesion. This paper synthesises the to-date knowledge on mechanisms determining the development of service sector in cities, including new phenomena such as decentralisation of urban functions, urban shrinkage, remote services provision or commercialisation of lifestyle. Critical literature review enables the confrontation of various research perspectives and leads to distinguishing key factors affecting the development of urban local service centres in the first half of 21st century and defining the current challenges for public policy.
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