The city of Katowice is the main city of the Silesian province and capital of the Upper Silesian Industrial District, an agglomeration of 2.1 million people, in southern Poland. The historically working-class area has been renowned for its coal and steel production since the 19th century. The city itself covers 164km2 and has a population of 306,000 people, of whom 65% are of working age. The city has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Poland at just over 5%.
Mining and steel are still important sectors within Katowice’s economy but it has been steadily transforming into an innovative, culturally dynamic, high-tech economy with a high quality of life for its citizens. It is now a leading centre for business trade fairs and a business service centre that has attracted investment from international corporations. Although the city is the most densely populated part of the agglomeration, 42% of its territory is covered by forest, and the number of green spaces for recreation has been increasing. It has many cultural attractions and striking architecture, including Poland’s largest cathedral.
The economic transformation has been boosted by the high number of scientific universities in the region. Katowice alone has a student population of around 100,000 and there are over 180,000 students in the province. They find jobs in sectors such as IT, high technology, mining, energy and healthcare. Katowice is keen to develop a sustainable transport system for the agglomeration.