According to the forecasts of the Central Statistical Office, by 2050 the devastating majority of Polish cities will lose their inhabitants to several major centers. Cities like Konin face a depopulation of 40 percent, or over 30,000 people. In addition to uncoordinated, short-term socio-economic policies and promises of almost magicaly acquired investors, Polish cities have not yet seen bold and challenging activities.
The inspiration comes from Vermont in the USA. The challenges faced by this state, the population like of Łódź or Wrocław, are similar to those that face cities in Poland today. Firstly, the outflow of residents causes decreasing receipts to the budget. Secondly, mainly people of working age leave, which means the aging of abandoned urban centers at a rate greater than that resulting from natural processes. This, in turn, again does not positively affect local finances.
The Vermont authorities have decided to invest considerable resources in reversing this trend. The first hundred people who will move to the State of the Green Mountains after January 1, 2019 to work remotely for a company outside of Vermont, will receive a total of 10,000 dollars in two years. These funds will be available to new residents, for instance to cover the costs of relocation, purchase of equipment, payment of telephone bills, or a desk in a co-working space (the development of the latter is also a priority for Vermont). Such action is a daring way to meet the dynamically changing labor market, and thus the growing group of people who need a computer with access to the Internet to earn a living.
Considering that, change of residence for many is not a decision that is taken lightly, the state has invested in the campaign “Stay to Stay Weekend”. Do you want to visit Vermont as a tourist and meet potential employers on the occasion? Local authorities will ensure that you have the chance to experience Vermont in full on your four weekends.
“Sample Vermont just as you would live it full time”
Socio-economic challenges are relatively universal in today’s cities of Europe or even in North America. The ways of facing them are significantly different between local governments. Time will show how far Vermont’s activities will bring the expected results. I would not wait, however, with testing this solution in Polish conditions for too long. Residents, as you can see, are becoming more and more mobile, and a sensible revitalization program supported by the possibilities offered by the Morawiecki Middle Town Package for some cities may be the last chance to retain residents and guarantee them a high quality of life.