Military Units as Elements of Development Potential of Small and Medium-Sized Cities
Purpose: The aim of this article is to show how the inhabitants and owners of small and medium-sized cities located in different regions of Poland perceive a military unit located on their territory in the context of its participation in building local development potential. Design/Methodology/Approach: In this research a qualitative and quantitative approach was applied. The research was carried out by means of a diagnostic survey, using the survey and the interview methods. The survey-based research included 1200 respondents from 12 cities with military units. There were also 12 interviews with persons holding managerial positions in the governing bodies of the cities. To analyse the collected material Statistica v.13.3 computer program was used, as well as R v.4.0.0 and RStudio editor. Findings: Military units, being part of the armed forces, located in the cities, are one of the elements creating local development potential. As employers, tax payers, contracting entities, "contractors" and as space users, they participate in social and economic processes occurring in the cities. Practical Implications: Understanding how local authorities and small and medium-sized city inhabitants perceive the military is helpful in preparing development plans and programs considering the military's impact on social and economic development, especially in the context of the labour market and the income situation of a particular city. Moreover, the presence of the military in a given location is seen as a distinguishing feature of this place in space, which can also be a source of new ideas and development impulses. Originality/Value: The research shows that the location and size of cities in which military units are located are primarily significant in social and economic terms. The smaller the cities, the more often the respondents notice that the presence of the unit is connected with the local budget, promotes development of local companies and the formation of attitudes of children and youth. At the same time, the influence of units on the course of local processes is connected with their size, the number of soldiers and military employees.