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Is the City Unnecessary? New Life Spaces of Young City Inhabitants

Public Spaces: Times of Crisis and Change

ISBN: 978-1-78635-464-8, eISBN: 978-1-78635-463-1

ISSN: 1047-0042

Publication date: 5 November 2016


The aim of the chapter is to analyze the attitudes of young city inhabitants toward the traditional urban space (city center, neighborhood) and commercial space (the mall). When they spend their time, where are the places important for their individual activity and group identities? What role is played in their lives by the urban center and what by the mall? I searched for the answers to these questions using studies carried out on teenagers from two Polish cities: Krakow and Katowice (qualitative research: expert interviews and observations; followed by questionnaires on two samples: the first comprised 838 teenagers aged 13–16 attending secondary schools from the cities). The empirical research indicates two models of the urban spaces of young city inhabitants: the first one with strong meaning of the city center (which does not correlate with the everyday practices) and the second with “absent” traditional center and relatively strong neighborhoods. The neighborhood has the biggest potential for socializing young people as the citizens; the city center and the mall are – for teenagers – rather the spaces for “consuming.” It is vital to understand the developing typical relations of young people with urban spaces to see what the “city is becoming.”



Smagacz-Poziemska, M. (2016), "Is the City Unnecessary? New Life Spaces of Young City Inhabitants", Public Spaces: Times of Crisis and Change (Research in Urban Sociology, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 35-52.



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