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Overview interesting research on shrinking cities in Europe

Shrinking cities’ is a challenge in many European regions. Both EMI and EUKN would like to share knowledge to help cities cope with these challenges. This article gives an overview of inspiring research publications (free to download), many of them containing case studies of shrinking cities.

1. The Future of Shrinking Cities - Problems, Patterns and Strategies of Urban Transformation in a Global Context.

Karina Pallagst et al., 2009. Center for Global Metropolitan Studies and the Institute of Urban and Regional Development in Berkeley.

This publication is the outcome of a symposium that brought together urban and regional planners, architects, engineers, developers, artists, and academics to examine the perspectives of shrinking cities. The purpose of the publication is to encourage and inform discussion to improve the quality of life in shrinking cities. The authors identify and examine critical projects and issues in shrinking cities and present lessons learned from relevant projects and experiences. The comparative approach to shrinking cities, incorporating a wide range of case studies in order to broaden the debate, is both unique and innovative. Download this publication.


2.  Mapping urban shrinkage in Europe.

Silvia Avila de Sousa et al., 2011. European Cooperation in Science and technology (COST).

In the context of the European COST Action ‘Cities Regrowing Smaller’ (CIRES) in 2011 a training school was held in Dortmund, Germany. The training aimed to get young researchers and scholars from different European countries together to deal with questions of how to measure and illustrate shrinkage. CIRES is a network of more than 60 European researchers working on the topic of urban shrinkage in Europe. Based on the shared data set, first drafts of maps illustrating shrinkage in Europe were produced. The scholars agreed on two different maps: one showing the population development between 1990 and 2010 and a second showing in four charts the population development for the periods 1990 to 1995, 1995 to 2000, 2000 to 2005 and 2005 to 2010 to get a more detailed impression of the process of shrinkage in the countries considered. As a result, the first maps are presented in this report. Download this report.

3. Expanding cities, shrinking cities, sustainable cities: challenges, opportunities and examples.

Dieter D Genske, Ariane Ruff, 2006. University of Applied Sciences in Nordhausen, Germany.

It appears difficult to deal with the recent phenomenon of shrinking cities and its impacts on society. In times of global markets and local bottlenecks, cities change constantly and rapidly, much faster than they used to do. Changing cities also offer chances, not only to architects and investors but also to new forms of land and resource management. In this paper the issue of shrinking and growing cities will be discussed. Examples from regions characterized by post-industrialization and post-socialism are presented and strategies to stimulate a sustainable urban renaissance that respects geo-resources and the environment will be introduced and illustrated with examples. Download this paper.

4. Shrinking cities in a time of crisis.

Ivonne Audirac, Sylvie Fol, and Cristina Martinez-Fernandez, 2010. University of California.

The relentless depopulation of certain cities and suburbs in the U.S., Japan, and western and eastern Europe have stimulated scholarly research into causal explanations and new ways of understanding the synergies of decline and growth beyond classic formulations. This paper contains examples of the cities Berlin and Leipzig in Germany. Download this paper.