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Sociology - Poland

Research topics


Metropolises as laboratories for new models of "innovation places"

The XXIst century is called “the age of the metropolises”. In this century, metropolitan areas are becoming the predominant living environments of human beings. The most important world challenges regarding democracy, economic development, health and climate change are concentrated in the largest cities and metropolises. These metropolitan areas are laboratories for new models of innovation, from which the shape of the world in the XXIst century emerges. Metropolitan areas foster the density of human relations, the sense of experimenting, and the combination of skills. In this complex social system, creativity, brand new trends and ideas are generated as a result of social and economic diversity.
The project explores the metropolis as space where new forms of “innovation places” emerge outside the classic institutions such as technology parks or clusters. It is assumed that the distinctive feature of metropolises is their potential to generate innovations. Therefore, it remains crucial to understand the functioning of places where creative capital, treated as a potential, is effectively transformed into new values, trends and broadly conceived innovations, not only technological but also social ones.
The aim of the project is to understand conditions under which the potential accumulated in “innovation places” becomes a source of creativity and social innovations that may respond to complex socio-economic challenges of the modern world, requiring a different environment than technological innovations.
The initial phase of the project will cover the analysis of the innovation ecosystem and identification of “innovation places”. The main phase of the research will be based on an in-depth analysis which requires the use of qualitative research methods to explore the logic of the functioning of selected “innovation places”.
The research will be focused on selected French metropolitan areas (Lyon and Saint-Etienne), being parts of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, based on their innovative potential and quality of life.

Activities / Resume


Robert Pyka is a professor of sociology at the University of Silesia in Katowice (Poland), and since 2019 the Deputy Dean for Research and Internationalisation at the Faculty of Social Sciences, between 2012 - 2019 a holder of the position of Scientific Director of the Institute of Sociology. In his research he mainly concentrates on issues within sociology and anthropology of politics, with a particular focus on the future of the state and local structures in the perspective of globalisation, metropolisation and “governance”. He has written several scientific articles and published following books: Metropolisation and local governance (University of Silesia Publishing House, 2014); Globalisation – Social Justice – Economic Effectiveness (University of Silesia Publishing House, 2008). He is the founder and the head of the Observatory of Urban and Metropolitan Processes, the consortium of eight universities and research institutes, which undertakes the scientific collaboration with local government units providing research, expert and advisory services to local stakeholders.



  • Krzysztof Bierwiaczonek, Grzegorz Gawron, Robert Pyka, Małgorzata Suchacka (2020), Innovation places: theoretical and methodological remarks for analysing metropolitan creativity and innovations, “Creativity Studies” - 2020, no. 2, p. 532-551.
  • Behr Valentin, Pyka, Robert, La métropole haute-silésienne, une gouvernance territoriale innovante. Ressources et défis de la première communauté métropolitaine de Pologne, Revue d’études comparatives Est-Ouest (RECEO), numéro 4/2019
  • Pyka R. (2018), Culture as a factor of urban resilience on the example of former industrial cities belonging to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. The case of two cities: Katowice and Saint-Etienne. „Kultura i społeczeństwo” („Culture and society”), Instytut Studiów Politycznych PAN, nr 3, 2018, ISSN 0023-5172. (Publication in Polish)
  • Pyka R. (2018), The Upper Silesian and Zagłębie Metropolis as a local government innovation. Poland’s first metropolitan union – opportunities and threats, Studia Regionalne i Lokalne” (Regional and Local Studies), 1(71)/2018, DOI: 10.7366/1509499517101 (Publication in Polish)
  • Pyka, R. (2017), Urban creativity in the sociological perspective, Studia Regionalia, Journal of the Polish Academy of Sciences: Committee for Spatial Economy and Regional Planning & European Regional Science Association (ERSA) Polish Section, Volume 51, 2017, pp. 133-148, doi: 10.12657/studreg-51-09
  • Pyka, R. (2016), Le tournant métropolitain en Pologne, Revue Métropolitiques, 13.01.2016.
  • Pyka, R. (2015) L’évolution du système politico-administratif local polonais et les réformes territoriales à l’épreuve des défis de XXIe siècle, Revue française de droit administratif (RFDA), juillet-août 2015.
  • Suchacka, M., Pyka, R., Trembaczowski, Ł. (2012) Selected driving forces and mechanisms for the urban economic resilience in the Silesian post-industrial cities, Regions, Regional Studies Association, no. 286, issue 2, ISSN 1367-3882, p.10-12.
  • Robert Pyka, (2011) La métropolisation en Pologne : le fonctionnement et l’avenir des espaces métropolitains polonais, Revue Métropoles, 10/2011,


  • Pyka, R. (ed.) (2018), Metropolises as the subject of research - foreign experience, Polish expectations, Upper Silesia Sociological Studies, Seria Nowa, 2018, Tom 9, zeszyt 2 (Publication in Polish)
  • Pyka, R. (2014), Metropolization and local governance. Global challenges of nation-state on the example of French Fifth Republic. Katowice: Publishing House of the University of Silesia, p. 359, ISSN 0208-6336, ISBN 978-83-8012-042-6 (Publication in Polish)
  • Pyka, R. (2008), Globalisation – social justice – economic efficiency. French dilemmas. Katowice: Publishing House of the University of Silesia, p. 190. ISBN 978-83-226-1781-6 (Publication in Polish)
  • Entre la coopération et la concurrence. La gouvernance et le développement équilibré des espaces métropolitains français – conclusions pour la Pologne, Pyka Robert (dir.), RSS MSNP UŚ, 2011, ss. 208, ISBN 978-83-928326-9-0

Scientific Editions:

  • Pyka, R. (2011), Scientific editor of Polish edition of: Wieviorka, M. (2008), Nine lectures from sociology, Kraków: NOMOS, ISBN: 978-83-7688-066-2 (Publication in Polish)
  • Pyka, R. (2010), Scientific editor of Polish edition of: Touraine, A. (2010), Self production of society, Kraków: NOMOS, ISBN 978-83-7688-037-2 (Publication in Polish)

Chapiters in Monographs:

  • Pyka R. (2019), La coopération intercommunale dans les espaces métropolitains polonais. Etat des lieux : structures, stratégies et perspectives (Inter-Municipal Cooperation in the Polish Metropolitan Spaces, State of Affaires: Structures, Strategies and Perspectives), (in) Metropolisation, Regionalisationand Rural Intermunicipal Cooperation. What Impact on Local, Regional and National Governments in Europe? Métropolisation, régionalisation et intercommunalité rurale. Quel impact sur les autorités locales, régionales et centrales en Europe ?, Institut Universitaire Varenne, Collection Kultura.
  • Pyka, R. (2017), L’impact de la crise économique sur les formes de coopération des collectivités locales polonaises - défis et réformes possibles. Le cas de la conurbation de la Haute Silésie en Pologne, in : (dir.) Lucioano Vendelli, Stéphane Guérard, L’impact de la crise économique sur les collectivités locales en Europe, Institut Universitaire Varenne, Collection Kultura, 2017, p. 477-502. ISBN 978-2-37032-107-7
  • Pyka, R. (2015), Gouvernance métropolitaine comme outil du renouvellement économique et de la «résilience» dans les anciennes régions industrielles. Exemple de la conurbation silésienne en Pologne [in :] Libor, G., Nowalska-Kapuścik, D., Pyka, R. (dir.) Regionalisation in Europe. The state of affairs. Katowice: Publishing House of the University of Silesia, p. 130-146, ISBN 978-83-8012-584-1