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METROPOLIS (Old Greek: metrópolis: mother-city, mother of cities) – means a city agglomeration of one million or more citizens, which can be distinguished by: perfection of services, institutions and material equipment, economic, technological, social, political and cultural potential for innovation, exceptionality and specificity of the place. This term is also used to describe the most important city of the province/country, political, economic, cultural centre. Characteristics that constitute the met. include: they are a decision-making centre for the organisation of the global economy by exercising control and regulation functions; by displacing the dominant manufacturing sector, they are becoming the most important location for companies providing specialized services related to financial intermediation, insurance, real estate trade; they are a location of the most modern industries and innovations, and at the same time they are the market for manufactured products and innovations. Among the criteria for distinguishing met. one can find: individualism; criterion of size, i.e. concentration of population, activity, social, cultural and transport infrastructure; the so-called global horizon – participation in global links and migration flows; functional specialization and diversification of society, space and infrastructure; playing an important role in the management of the flows of goods, persons, information; the localization of political institutions. Additionally, met. is characterized by: pollution of the environment and the implementation of a sustainable development strategy and the accumulation of various types of conflicts. Due to the scale of the fulfilled functions one can distinguish: regional, subcontinental, continental and global met. Global met. (London and Paris) steer globalisation processes; continental met. (e.g., Brussels, Amsterdam) base their development on transnational links. The subcontinental met., on the other hand, (e.g., Hanover, Stockholm) are places of concentration of decisions and activities of several neighbouring countries, and regional metropolitan areas (e.g., Warsaw, Prague) occupy a dominant position on a national scale with medium or weakly developed international functions [ K.A. Kuć-Czajkowska ].
Literature: ■ M. Bassand, The Metropolisation of the World, [in:] Regional Question in Europe, ed. G. Gorzelak, B. Jałowiecki, Warsaw 1993 ■ B. Jałowiecki, Metropolie [Metropolises], Białystok 1999 ■ S. Sassen, The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo, Princeton-Oxford 2001.