In recent years there has been a growing tendency to transform rural settlements into holiday/second homes. The second home is a settlement located in the rural area. Its primary function is to provide recreational space for the house owners and their family (Kowalczyk 1994). This trend results from the transformation of countryside, especially where natural resources are no longer used for agricultural purposes, but for tourism and recreation (Halfacree and Boyle 1998). Owning a second house is a phenomenon reflecting certain social changes, such as the increase in the level of wealth, in the amount of leisure time, and represents the need for relaxing in attractive natural surroundings (Liszewski 1987, Liszewski 1991, Krysiak 2009). The development of second homes increases attractiveness of rural areas, which in turn brings in new inhabitants, hence counteracting depopulation in the region and generating additional income in the local budget (Hidle et al. 2010, Adamiak 2012).
This paper is an initial attempt at examining the impact of second homes on different aspects of the functioning of rural areas in three selected communes of the Hajnowski district. A particular attention was given to the relationship between the second home and the buildings already existing in the Podlasie Region countryside. The study showed a strong connection between the location of the house and the landscape. In addition, it was found that the owners of second houses have predominantly inherited their house from the previous owner (60%), and furthermore, the majority of holiday houses (89%) are old country houses located in the place of former farms and adapted to serve recreational functions.
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