The subject of the study are strategies for the development of 9 cities, which are among the strongest centres outside the current capitals of regions (in Polish: voivodeships) in the least-developed Polish regions. These cities can give the chance to activate their surroundings. Good strategies that increase the competitiveness of cities and stimulate development can contribute to this. The aim of the research was to fi nd answers to the questions whether and to what extent the studied strategies: (1) are in line with the definition and methodology of strategic planning; (2) recognize and use specific combinations of developmental factors; (3) can contribute to the development of their surroundings. The research method involved the analysis of the strategic plans in the light of the above questions. The strategies studied are not fully in line with the strategy defi nition. They contain errors and methodological flaws commonly encountered in other strategies. They use the specificity of developmental factors, but without conscious, methodical recognition of their combinations and without exposing them. The author signals methodical problems specific to the strategic planning in territorial units and makes suggestions for planning practice.