45th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Land Use and Water Management in a Sustainable Network Society", 23-27 August 2005, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Regions of traditional industry are often perceived as doomed to economic decline. Old industrial regions in transitional countries constitute entirely new category of problem regions since their economic decay differs from their western counterparts substantially both in terms of the origin and the character of their troubles. In the early 1990s these regions suddenly faced the double shock in the form of severe international competition and rather painful inner restructuring. Restructuring of old industrial areas in Central East Europe thus represents a truly topical problem not only for the sake of its unprecedented character but also with regard to its socio-economic impacts. Some of these regions suffer from serious socio-economic problems just according to the initial gloomy prognoses on the one hand but the group of temporary winners emerged on the other hand. It is argued that differentiated transformational trajectories of old industrial regions in transitional countries cannot be satisfactorily explained by traditional theories. However, institutional approaches combined with hermeneutical methods bring acceptable clarification of the diverse development of such kind of regions in Central East Europe. The paper is devoted to the comparison of restructuring in Ostrava agglomeration (Czech Republic) and Katowice conurbation (Poland) from institutional-hermeneutical perspective. While in case of Ostrava region this restructuring turned out to be far from perfect, in Katowice area, on the contrary, pessimistic scenario did not materialise. The different course of restructuring in afore-mentioned regions will be analysed from both rank-territorial (national and regional) and functional (restructuring of traditional industries, development of new activities and communication level of restructuring) perspectives.