Location of small towns and rural settlements of Ukraine and new realities of the administrative- territorial system: contradictions and perspectives of mutual influences

Keywords: mall towns (mistechka), rural settlements, administrative-territorial reform, erritorial communities, dministrative districts, local self-government


The article reveals the mutual influences of the geography of small towns (mistechka) and rural settlements in Ukraine and the system of administrative-territorial organization at the middle and lowest levels. Based on the statistical analysis, it was concluded that the location of very small cities, urban-type settlements (selyshchа miskoho typu) and villages is significantly differentiated by regions of Ukraine, taking into account the historical-geographical and natural-geographical prerequisites, the level of urbanization and industrialization, as well as differences in the demographic situation. The study proved that before the administrative reform, the small towns of Ukraine played an important role in the organization of the middle link of the administrative territorial system, being the centers of most districts, but as a result of the reform, their administrative importance in the district division became minimal. At the same time, almost half of the small towns became centres of united territorial communities. The author concludes that the loss of the status of medium-sized administrative units by towns could be compensated by transferring a significant part of the functions of regional authorities to new administrative districts, and most of the functions of former district centres to the centres of low-level territorial communities. For this purpose, it is necessary to create appropriate socio-economic conditions for the small towns-centres of new territorial communities to perform all the functions of serving the population of nearby settlements. It was concluded that such changes in administrative powers can ensure, in general, a shift in the weight of socio-economic life deep into the territory, which is necessary to overcome intra-regional disproportions in the development of the economy and the social sphere. The proposition that the structure of rural resettlement also influenced the territorial organization of local self-government in rural areas in different ways at all times was conceptually substantiated. The main socio-geographic parameters that used to determine and currently determine the structure of rural self-government are the density of the rural population, the average population, and the density of rural settlements. The study proved the presence of various regional variants of the combination of these indicators, which were also reflected in the geography of the centres in rural territorial communities. A positive consequence of the administrative reform was the strengthening of the financial base of rural communities, but at the same time, the administrative importance of many rural settlements of Ukraine decreased due to the loss of the status of rural council centres, and the distances between rural settlements and new administrative centres increased. As villages-community centres began to serve larger territories, if their infrastructural potential and economic base were strengthened, they could become new poles of socio-economic development in rural areas.

Author Biographies

Myroslav S. Dnistryanskyi
Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Lviv, Ukraine
Iryna M. Chaika
Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Lviv, Ukraine


1. Administratyvno-terytorialnyi ustrii Ukrainy Minregion [Administrative-territorial structure of Ukraine – Ministry of Regional Development]. Retrieved from: https://www.minregion.gov.ua/napryamki-diyalnosti/ rozvytok-mistsevoho-samovryaduvannya/administratyvno/). (In Ukrainian).
2. Askim J., Klausen JE, Vabo S., Bjustrøm K. (2017). Territorial expansion of local bodies power: a change-oriented approach to explanation differences between the countries of Western Europe. Local Government Research, 43(4) 555–576.
3. Baldersheim, H., Rose. L. (2010). Territorial Choice: The Politics of Boundaries and Borders, London: Palgrave-Macmillan.
4. Baranovskyi, M. (2009). Naukovi zasady suspilno-heohra-Baranovskyi, M. (2017). Finansova detsentralizatsiia v Ukraini: osoblyvosti stanovlennia [Financial decen- tralization in Ukraine: features of formation]. Ukrainskyi heohrafichnyi zhurnal. 4, 30 – 38. (In Ukrainian).
5. Baranovskyi, M. (2020). Subrehionalnyi riven administra- tyvno-terytorialnoi reform Ukraini: dyskusiini aspektyfichnoho vyvchennia silskykh depresyvnykh terytorii Ukrainy [Scientific principles of socio-geographical study of rural depressed areas of Ukraine]. Nizhyn: PPLysenkoM. M. 396. (In Ukrainian).
6. Baranovskyi, M. (2017). Finansova detsentralizatsiia v Ukraini: osoblyvosti stanovlennia [Financial decentralization in Ukraine: features of formation]. Ukrainskyi heohrafichnyi zhurnal. 4, 30 – 38. (In Ukrainian).
7. Baranovskyi, M. (2020). Subrehionalnyi riven administra- tyvno-terytorialnoi reform Ukraini: dyskusiini aspekty [Subregional level of administrative-territorial reform in Ukraine: debatable aspects]. Visnyk Kyivskoho natsionalnoho universytetu imeni Tarasa Shevchenka. Heohrafiia. 1/2 (76/77), 37-43. (In Ukrainian).
8. Bikker, J., Vander Linde, D. (2016). Scale Economies in Local Public Administration. Local Government Stud- ies 42 (3): 441–63.
9. Dnistrianska, N., Dnistrianskyi, M. (2013). Duzhe mali miski poselennia Lvivskoi oblasti: suspilno-heohra- fichnyi potentsial ta perspektyvy rozvytku [Very small urban settlements of Lviv region: socio-geographical potential and development prospects]. Lviv: LNU imeni Ivana Franka, 198. (In Ukrainian).
10. Dnistrianska, N., Dnistrianskyi,M., 2014. Heohrafichne polozhennia ta administratyvnyi status yak chynnyky rozvytku duzhe malykh miskykh poselen Lvivskoi oblasti [Geographical position and administrative sta- tus as factors of development of very small urban set- tlements of Lviv region]. Visn. Lviv. un-tu. Ser. heohr. Vyp. 47. 107 – 115. (In Ukrainian).
11. Dnistrianskyi, M., Dnistrianska, N. (2017). Stiikist ta minl- yvist mistechok Lvivshchyny [Stability and variability of the towns of Lviv region]. Urbanistychna Ukraina: v epitsentri prostorovykh zmin. Kyiv. Vydavnytstvo «Feniks», 98 – 120. (In Ukrainian).
12. Dnistrianskyi, M., Chaika, I. (2019). Rehionalni vidmin- nosti silskohoro rozselenniaUkrainy ta problemy utvorennia obiednanykh terytorialnykh hromad [Re- gional differences of rural settlement of Ukraine and problems of formation of united territorial communi- ties]. Rehionalna polityka: polityko-pravovi zasady, urbanistyka, prostorove planuvannia, arkhitektura [zb. nauk. pr.]. Vyp. V. Kyiv–Ternopil, 97 – 100. (In Ukrainian).
13. Gendźwiłł, A., Kurniewicz, A. Swianiewicz, P. (2020). The impact of municipal territorial reforms on economic performance of local governments. A systematic review of quasi-experimental studies. Space and Polity.
14. Zaiats, T. (2017).Rozvytok silskykh poselen Ukrainy v umovakh detsentralizatsii: mozhlyvosti i ryzyky [Development of rural settlements of Ukraine in the conditions of decentralization: opportunities and risks]. Demohrafiia ta sotsialna ekonomika. 3, 48-50. (In Ukrainian).
15. Ilina, M.,Shpylova,Yu. (2018). Prostorova dyferentsiatsiia silskykh terytorialnykh hromad v Ukraini [Spatial differentiation of rural territorial communities in Ukraine]. Ekonomika pryrodokorystuvannia i stalyi rozvytok. Kyiv: DU IEPSR NAN Ukrainy, 3–4, 35-41. (In Ukrainian).
16. Kravtsiv, V., Storonianska, I., Zhuk, P. (2017). Reformuvannia terytorialnoi osnovy mistsevoho samovriaduvannia v konteksti yoho finansovoi spromozhnosti [Reforming the territorial basis of local self-government in the context of its financial capacity]. Ekonomi- ka Ukrainy. No1. 41-51. (In Ukrainian).
17. Kuchabskyi, O. (2010). Administratyvno-terytorialna orhanizatsiia Ukrainy: teoriia, metodolohiia, mekhanizmy stanovlennia [Administrative-territorial organization of Ukraine: theory, methodology, mechanisms of formation]. Lviv: LRIDU NADU, 318. (In Ukrainian).
18. Kuchabskyi, O. (2010). Systema silskohoro rozselennia ta mali mista u formuvanni novoi modeli administra- tyvno-terytorialnoho ustroiu Ukrainy [The system of rural resettlement and small towns in the formation of a new model of administrative-territorial organization of Ukraine]. Teoriia ta praktyka derzhavnoho upravlin- nia. 1, 150-157. (In Ukrainian).
19. Kuczabski, A., Zastavetska, L., Zastavetskyy, T. (2017). The reform of administrative division in Ukraine: problems of territorial communities’ formation in the Polish-Ukrainian borderland. Journal of Geography, Politics and Society, 7(2), 87–97.
20. Melnychuk, A. (2021). Problema bezrobittia u silskii mist- sevosti: vplyv reformy detsentralizatsii [The problem of unemployment in rural areas: the impact of decen- tralization reform]. Naukovyi visnyk Khersonskoho derzhavnoho universytetu. Seriia «Heohrafichninauky». 14,13 – 18. (In Ukrainian).
21. Metodychni rekomendatsii shchodo kryteriiv formuvannia administratyvno-terytorialnykh odynyts subrehion- alnoho (raionnoho) rivnia [Methodical recommenda- tions on the criteria for the formation of administra- tive-territorial units of the subregional (district) level]. Retrieved from: https://www.minregion.gov.ua/ wp-content/uploads/ 2019/08/Metod.recom.rayon.pdf (In Ukrainian).
22. Naselennia Ukrainy za 2019 rik. Demohrafichnyi shcho- richnyk. [The population of Ukraine in 2019. Demo- graphic Yearbook]. 2020. Kyiv: Derzhavna sluzhba statystyky Ukrainy, 181. (In Ukrainian).
23. Oliinyk Ya.B., Ostapenko P.O. (2016). Formuvannia spro- mozhnykh terytorialnykh hromad v Ukraini: perevahy, ryzyky, zahrozy. Ukrainskyi heohrafichnyi zhurnal. 4, 37-44.
24. Pylypenko, I. (2015). Suspilno-heohrafichna peryferiia: kontseptsiia, parametryzatsiia i delimitatsiia [Socio-geographical periphery: concept, parameterization and delimitation]. Kherson: Hrin D.S. 264. (In Ukrainian).
25. Savchuk,I.(2020).NewAdministrativeandTerritorialDi- vision of Ukraine. New Challenge for National Inter- est. National Interest, 1(1)]. S. 37–45.
26. Skliarska, O. (2021). Reforma administratyvno-terytori- alnoho ustroiu Ukrainy v konteksti vplyvu na status i funktsii poselen [Reform of the administrative-territorial structure of Ukraine in the context of the impact on the status and functions of settlements]. Naukovi zapysky Ternopilskoho natsionalnoho pedahohichnoho uni- versytetu im. Volodymyra Hnatiuka. Ser. Heohrafiia. Ternopil : TNPU im. V. Hnatiuka, Vyp. 1 (50), 57-64. (In Ukrainian).
27. Svianievich P. (2021). Yaki perevahy mozhe stvoryty administratyvno-terytorialna reforma [What are the benefits of administrative-territorial reform]. Retrieved from: https://decentralization.gov.ua/news/13582 (In Ukrainian).
28. Tavares, A.F. (2018). Municipal amalgamations and their effects: A literature review. Miscellanea Geographica. 22(1): 5–15.
29. Zastavetska L. (2013). Systemy rozselennia i heoprostor- ovi problemy vdoskonalennia administratyvno-terytorialnoho ustroiu Ukrainy [Settlement systems and geospatial problems of improving the administrative-territorial structure of Ukraine]. Ternopil: TNPU im. V. Hnatiuka, 332.(In Ukrainian).
How to Cite
Dnistryanskyi, M., & Chaika, I. (2023). Location of small towns and rural settlements of Ukraine and new realities of the administrative- territorial system: contradictions and perspectives of mutual influences. Journal of Geology, Geography and Geoecology, 32(1), 3-16. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.15421/112301