Considering the increasing role of cities throughout the world and in Europe, the European Union regulations on cohesion policy that are binding in the 2014–2020 programme period have foreseen the need to introduce a separate intervention dedicated to cities and their functional areas. However, the implementation of these solutions did not come without certain problems. They referred both to the process of institutionalising co-operation and to the realisation of projects. Also in Poland, Integrated Territorial Investments have not gone beyond co-operation for the absorption of EU funding so far, which demonstrates doubtlessly that their potential still remains unexploited. Thus, a discussion on both the positive and negative aspects of the implementation of ITIs is necessary. Poland, as the largest beneficiary of the Cohesion Policy, has a wide experience, which might provide valuable information on that matter. The aim of the paper is to present these experiences and to provide conclusions for the regional policy.
In the 2014–2020 programming period, two new tools were introduced by the EU cohesion policy, namely Smart Specialisation (SS) and Integrated Territorial Investments (ITI). Their implementation aims at contributing on the one hand to activating and strengthening endogenic potentials, including those based on knowledge and innovation, and on the other hand to territorialisation of intervention for the purpose of obtaining competitive advantages or regions. The tools are based on two concepts of the development policy: smart specialisation and place-based and territorial approach to development. The article presents the rationale and prospective impact of the implementation of the tools on development programming of selected regions of Poland. Detailed analyses cover the provisions of the ITI Strategy of the Functional Urban Areas (FUAs) of Poznań (Wielkopolskie Voivodeship), Subregion Centralny (Śląskie Voivodeship), and Lublin (Lubelskie Voivodeship), as well as regional and national operational programmes in terms of potential contribution of the implementation of ITI to the strengthening of regional SS in some of the Polish region. The analyses performed for the three groups of Thematic Objectives (TO) of ESIF 2014–2020 (corresponding with 3 pillars of the Europe 2020 Strategy), i.e. ‘smart’ – TO 1–3; ‘sustainable’ – TO 4–7; and ‘inclusive’ – TO 8–10, show that the ‘sustainable’ group (in majority represented by companies from sections F, H) refers to infrastructure projects, often of a transport network; the ‘inclusive’ group is ascribed to companies from sections Q and P to generally ‘soft’ projects related to the development of social services, and ’smart‘ is related to sections M, F, J. Only in the case of 8% of projects (out of 78 analysed) it was stipulated that preferences would be given to the existing or newly established companies the profile of activity of which corresponds to regional SS. Such projects deal with the support for companies in the scope of business incubators and expansion of vocational education infrastructure in terms of adjustment to the needs of key sectors selected in RIS3 strategies of particular regions. In all of the analysed FUAs, ITI measures support regional SS in the framework of TO 3 and TO 10. The projects will be primarily implemented by companies from PCA sections M, F and P. The proposed methodology gives prospects to the analysis of future impact of interventions on the growth of the smart specialisation potential of the analysed FUAs PC.
The article aims to present the scope of influence of Integrated Territorial Investments (ITI) on the sustainable development of urban functional areas (FUAs) in Poland. Against the background of the general principles of the implementation of the both instruments, practical aspects of the implementation of ITI in FUAs have been presented. Detailed analyses in the financial and spatial aspect were carried out using the Sustainable Development Indicators (SDI). These provided the basis for presenting the practical aspect of supporting the sustainable development of urban functional areas in the EU Cohesion Policy 2014–2020.