Toruń is a city in the north of Poland with the population of almost 200,000 which is facing problems associated with a decreasing birth rate, an influx of migration and an ageing population.
Toruń is a university town where every year around 30 thousand students attend the Nicolaus Copernicus University and other local colleges. These young people constitute a tremendous capital for the city, a capital which is not fully utilized. Although during their studies, students enjoy the ‘holiday’ atmosphere of the city, the high educational level of their university, numerous cultural and sport events and the unique spirit of the Old Town, they do not seem to find it sufficient to start their adult life here.
Toruń has a potential which stems from its intellectual resources (well-educated young people) and the significant assets in the field of culture, art and historical heritage (the Old Town area is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List), which serve as a base for the development of innovation and social creativity.
This is the case in Toruń, where the Old Town is referred to as the heart of the city. However, currently, the pace of its development has considerably slowed down. The Old Town has lost some of its appeal due to the depopulation of this part of the city, relocation of shops and businesses and the increasing number of unoccupied houses or empty rental space.
At the same time, the suburbs offer lower rates of rent and a wide range of available large commercial and office space. Therefore, the city centre slowly loses its significance, which also leads to negative social and economic changes, thus lowering the development potential of this area.