The main objective of the article is an attempt to indicate factors which determine the image of a city as a good place to live as well as to reveal the ways in which they affect the citizens’ quality of life. In order to do so, the author selected the city of Gdynia which is perceived as the best city to live in by its citizens. Among the most important factors determining the quality of life in general there are: the scale of a city, local identity, public spaces, symbolic places, housing environment, perception of a place, personal satisfaction of a place where a particular person lives, urban policies as well as presence and activeness of local leaders. The article presents the results of a social study carried out by the author herself during two periods of time – in 2004 and 2014 as well as the results of the Social Diagnosis 2015.
The article is an attempt to collate and present the existing works of Polish geographers who focused on public space in cities, taking two main theoretical and methodological approaches – objective and subjective – under consideration. The article discusses different definitions of the analysed term in an interdisciplinary context as well as indicates main aspects and research directions in geographical studies along with the scholars representing them. Moreover, the authors make an attempt to evaluate the existing state of the art and try to set future perspectives for geographical studies on public space in cities. The article finishes with the authors’ conclusions regarding the necessity to continue the research on public space and the role Polish geographers shall play in it.