How to monitor city development in difficult times. We want to do this in Hajnówka Julia Szypulska January 30, 2023

How to monitor city development in difficult times?

We want to do this in Hajnówka

Monitoring development indicators is rare in cities, especially medium and small ones. The topic sounds serious and may be discouraging. Meanwhile, thanks to this solution, you can, for example, predict negative trends and prepare for them. The cooperation of the Białystok University of Technology and the city of Hajnówka is to result in just such a system. This unique, tailor-made product will help the city develop.



How to monitor city development in difficult times? – this is the topic of a seminar that took place last week at the Białystok University of Technology. It was attended by scientists, representatives of the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy, experts from the Association of Polish Cities and the Institute of Cities and Regions Development, and local government officials. The seminar is the result of the partnership between Hajnówka and the Białystok University of Technology for the implementation of several projects as part of the “Hajnówka ReNewal – Green Transformation” project.

When writing the project, we set four main directions for the city's development: environment and climate, integration and identity, business and a new city center. Another important task lies ahead of us. We need to find out what exactly we should monitor and what indicators to achieve these development goals.

Magdalena Chirko, head of the Development Department of the Hajnówka City Hall and project leader

Cooperation with the Białystok University of Technology is intended to identify these indicators.

This is what this project is all about: selecting the best possible set of data, teaching the habit of analysis, making it much easier to prepare for uncertain times, and knowing more quickly what threats await us. All this to reduce the risk of greater loss of function.

Agnieszka Dawydzik from the Association of Polish Cities

The monitoring system will help to face new challenges

The problem of loss of socio-economic functions is well known in Hajnówka. It has been going on in the city for about 30 years. The effect is, among others, depopulation of the city, manifested not only in the decline in the birth rate, but also in the fact that young people leave for larger centers. This is a nationwide trend, affecting many other cities. Therefore, other local government officials were also invited to the seminar.

Times are changing and pose completely new challenges to us, local government officials. Once upon a time, our challenge was these proverbial roads and sidewalks. Of course, infrastructure is still very important because it affects the quality of life of residents, and we still have new streets. Now, for example, we have an energy crisis and challenges related to providing residents with relatively cheap energy. New problems mean, above all, the need to look for new ideas and other solutions. Thanks to such meetings we can get inspired.

Zbigniew Karwowski, mayor of Mońki, participant of the meeting

Mońki, like other poviat cities in Podlaskie Voivodeship, belongs to the Forum of Ambitious Cities. Recall that this is a body set up, among other things, to exchange experience and good practices as part of the “Hajnówka ReNewal – Green Transformation” project. The use of indicator monitoring systems is not common in cities, especially medium-sized and smaller ones. There are many reasons for this, such as simply the lack of such a tradition or the difficulties associated with obtaining up-to-date data. These, in turn, are collected by various institutions and are available sometimes with a delay (e.g. from the Central Statistical Office) related to the need to compile them.


Bialystok University of Technology is a partner in the project "Hajnówka ReNewal - Green Transformation" and our task is to prepare a whole system of indicators of socio-economic development of the city of Hajnówka. We will work on this for several months. We will show the existing systems for monitoring local development, point out some conceptual frameworks, which are the starting point for building systems. We will also show the effect of our review in terms of good practices in Poland and around the world. The development of the system itself, this is already a long process, and later, in terms of its implementation, this is another challenge and another period, but the city of Hajnówka will already be working on this.

Dr. Ewa Glinska, Prof. BU Head of the Department of Marketing and Tourism of the Faculty of Management Engineering at Bialystok University of Technology

Monitoring is worth starting with problem areas

It will be a system that takes into account the specificity of Hajnówka and its local conditions as much as possible. The BU project will therefore be an original idea prepared with the conscious development of the city in mind. The Institute for the Development of Cities and Regions will also take part in the work, which will develop internal indicators – the so-called “inner city”. It is a tailor-made interactive IT system. Thanks to it, the city will gain very detailed information on the basis of which it will be able to make decisions that are important for residents. Such information may include, for example, data on which street or housing estate the most seniors live. As experts advise, it is worth starting monitoring from areas that we know are problematic.

We can monitor a specific area, for example a district. Take the unemployment rate as an example. It may turn out that according to the general indicator it is low in the city, but this does not mean that we do not have districts where this problem is very large.

Wojciech Łachowski from the Institute of Cities and Regions Development

The monitoring system for Hajnówka will be created in the coming months.

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