Building of the Electric Communter Railway as a determining factor in the development of suburban Warsaw




Urbanization processes in the rural areas around Warsaw, resulting from the expansion of the city, intensified in the second half of the 19th century. The most beneficial and spatially orderly form of urbanization was the building complex which developed as a result of landed estates being parcelled out to create “summer resorts”, “garden cities” or satellite settlements. The development of Warsaw’s suburbs was greatly enhanced by the building of the Warsaw Railway Junction and the Electric Commuter Railway – at that time the most modern of the railway lines. Along this route were built not only planned settlements or small towns, such as Podkowa Leśna, Komorów or Michałowice, but also settlements which grew spontaneously around railway stations, often absorbing earlier farming villages. Until the spread of car transport, these settlements, though resulting from unplanned private parcellations, continued to develop concentrically, so that most of the inhabitants could reach the railway station on foot. Currently, more distant lying agricultural lands are divided up and sold as housing lots. Providing a public transport infrastructure for such areas is difficult and residents are condemned to using private transport. These trends are contributing towards a more dispersed building layout in suburban zones and threatening principles of sustainable development.


Key words: spacial development, suburban zone, railway line, settlement