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Environmental hazards and urban abandonment: Case studies and typological issues

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Robert Krzysztofik
Mirek Dymitrow
Robert Szmytkie
Iwona Kantor-Pietraga
Jolanta Pełka-Gościniak
Tomasz Spórna
Publicerad i Geografiska Annaler. Series B. Human Geography
Volym 97
Nummer/häfte 4
Sidor 291-308
ISSN 0435-3684
Publiceringsår 2015
Publicerad vid Institutionen för ekonomi och samhälle, Kulturgeografi
Sidor 291-308
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1111/geob.12082
Ämnesord environmental hazards, urban abandonment, environmental change, human settlement, Poland
Ämneskategorier Klimatforskning, Geologi, Fysisk geografi, Kulturgeografi, Ekonomisk geografi, Bebyggelseforskning, Historia


The article discusses the phenomenon of urban abandonment as a result of environmental hazards. Seen as an outcome of environmental drivers, the underlying assumption is that a characteristic of environmental hazards is their spatial and temporal constancy of impact, whereby processes and phenomena having taken place in the past have their analogies in the present. In order to generate insights for future research and policy development, there is a need to pay greater attention to the precarious relationship between humans and the natural environment, not least by drawing lessons from the past through the study of historical cases. The article clarifies the dynamic interactions of drivers and their progression through various stages of urban abandonment. This is done by recourse to an analysis of some general trends and an in-depth examination of three selected case studies from Poland. It has two objectives. The first is to identify the historical role of environmental drivers in the process of urban abandonment, while the second one is to contribute to the typology of environmentally related processes of urban abandonment in order to better identify future calamities. With respect to the former, the findings reveal that the relation between environmental hazards and urban abandonment is pertinent in regions with specific geographic conditions and pertains only to certain categories of urban settlements. With respect to the latter, by drawing on these findings, we propose some alterations and amendments to McLeman’s comprehensive model of settlement abandonment in the context of global environmental change.

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