It has 145. 000 inhabitants with mainly polish background. Ruda Śląska is concurrently a typical industrial city and one of the most typical mining cities in Europe. The economic and social transformations in Poland in 1989/90 also caused a restructuring process of the mining industry.
One result of this process was the increase of the unemployment rate which reached 16,5% in 2002 and only in recent past diminished. For many citizens who lost their occupation the living standards strongly decreased reaching even levels of social exclusion in some neighbourhoods. The unfavorable effects of demographical change have brought to a decrease of the number of inhabitants by more than 10 % during the last ten years (163. 000 in 1997).
The City of Ruda Śląska started the regeneration and integrated development process in 1997 when the “Strategy for Interior and Integrated Development” was approved by the City Council. This strategy was updated in 2002. The next step consisted in drawing up the “Social Integration Strategy in Ruda Śląska” in 2003. With reference to the EU accession and the possiblility to receive financial aid for urban regenerations projects Ruda Śląska designed the “Local Programme for Revitalization” which was implemented since 2005 and was updated in 2007.
Improving the situation in the deprived urban areas requires the involvement of different instruments, institutions and persons and also makes it necessary to use the experiences and best practices from other cities, as for instance the Partner Cities of the RegGov-Network which are more experienced in urban development. Ruda Śląska has already received the support by EU-experts within the URBACT I Programme (Support for Cities Initiative). As a result the construction of a Local Initiative Centre in one of the deprived neighbourhoods of Ruda Śląska was financially supported by the Managing Authority.