OCT 08 / 15.00 pm – 17.00 pm / BME K210


Dr. Bálint KÁDÁR PhD / Budapest, H
BME Department of Urban Planning and Design / DANURB+ / ResearchGate

Dr. habil. Angelica STAN PhD / Bucharest, Ro
UAUIM Department of Landscape and Urban Planning / ResearchGate / LinkedIn

Prof. Zorica NEDOVIĆ-BUDIĆ PhD / Chicago, IL & Dublin, Ir
UIC CUPPA / ResearchGate / LinkedIn



A Chance for Sustainability and Smart Transformation in Shrinking Cities

One of the paradoxes of globalization has been the polarization of urban environments: on one hand, the world’s growing population concentrates in large cities; on the other hand, smaller cities and towns have experienced a demographic decline and labor migration. Consequently, shrinking cities are facing an accelerated spatio-social and cultural deterioration. In the paradigm of growth and accumulation, the chances to recover from shrinkage are small, as the affected cities are involved in a vicious cycle of regression and loss of attractiveness and capacity to recover. 

Very strong recovery projects and policies are needed. The successful examples implemented so far (Oswalt and Rieniets 2007, Hollander, 2009) demonstrate that capitalizing on decline to set aside land for recreation, agriculture, green infrastructure, and other non-traditional land uses will enable shrinking cities „to reinvent themselves as more productive, sustainable, and ecologically sound places” (Hollander, 2009).

The pandemic of 2020, has triggered a new urban dynamic. Large cities suddenly have become vulnerable and fragile because of their density and centrality, losing their attractiveness. Attention has turned to the neglected and chaotic peripheries of the big metropoles and to the small, olatised and sparsely populated towns. These declining places are suddenly seen in another light, re-opening the discussion about the need for deeper changes in urban life and the chance to re-invent these places by a different approach to resources and opportunities. 

With the above premises, we invite contributions to address the following topics in a Central and Eastern European context:
– examples of successfully integrated strategies for shrinking cities,
– unique characteristics of shrinking cities by region or historical circumstances,
– matching of planning actions and the types and / or causes of shrinkag,
– adaptive re-use of abandoned/declining infrastructures and venues in shrinking cities,
– case studies of projects building on values associated with peripheral or shrinking places,
– opportunities and trends in shrinking cities induced by post-pandemic adjustments.



Dr. Branislav ANTONIĆ / Belgrade Srb
Reviving Socialist Shrinking Towns in the Lower Danube Region in Serbia by Embracing their Modernist Urban Heritage

A socialist city was one of the most important spatial legacies of a socialist state in Eastern Europe, where its main tenets were adjusted to (re)form an urban environment for proletariat as a focal group. However, the implementation of a socialist-city agenda was confronted to the urban legacy of pre-socialist periods in many East European cities and towns with long history. Therefore, the ‘purest’ socialist cities were usually completely newly-formed urban settlements. The most notorious examples were usually bigger or middle-size cities with the large plants of heavy industry. They have been often exploited as a research theme last years, usually regarding their fast and uncontrolled urban shrinkage after the fall of socialism. This focus has left smaller socialist cities and towns somehow ‘in shadow’. This research is dedicated for three examples of new socialist towns located in the Lower Danube Region in Serbia: Donji Milanovac, Tekija, and Brza Palanka. All of them are unique due to their formation; old towns were flooded by the formation of two artificial lakes in the Iron Gates System on the Danube River, so new towns were fast built in modernist manner to relocate the population from the former ones. Today, these towns are more known in Serbia by extreme urban shrinkage due to the overall isolation by the formation of both lakes. Nevertheless, the recent rise of cultural tourism on the Danube has given a new impulse for the towns’ life. This paper aspires to revalorise their modernist urban heritage and to discuss if this element can be utilised for their further regeneration, driven by cultural tourism on the Danube.


Andreea Catalina POPA / Bucharest Ro
Shrinking Cities on the Romanian Side of the Danube River

The phenomenon of shrinking cities is present in different parts of Romania, both in mountainous areas and in hilly or lowland areas. Small towns with mono-industrial functions are among the most vulnerable to this phenomenon. The Danube port cities are in the same situation. During the communist period, these cities were known for their factories. After 1989, the new economic reality highlighted the industrial restructuring process, and these cities faced severe financial problems. The economic problems of these cities have also led to a steep decline in the number of inhabitants by lowering the birth rate and increasing the migration rate. This study investigates temporal changes in the economic, cultural, demographic, and physical aspects of three Danube port cities: Turnu Măgurele, Calafat, and Oltenița.


Mattias MALK / Tallinn, Es
With or Without You: The Local Significance of Rail Baltic in Pärnu

Secondary cities around the world face depopulation, stagnation, and cut-throat competition for resources. The effects of neoliberal strategies which perpetuate urban hierarchies have been especially pronounced in Eastern Europe, where the spatio-economic transition from state socialism to market capitalism was rapid and fundamentally altered regional power geometries. This case study highlights aspects of the cumulative causation behind urban hierarchies and considers the local significance of megaproject mobility infrastructure in secondary cities. First, the article epistemologically traces the concept of secondary cities in regional studies. Second, it considers the role of mobility infrastructures in establishing economic geographies. Third, the paper focuses on Pärnu, a secondary city in South Estonia, and the potential social and spatial implications of infrastructural renewal offered by Rail Baltic. In the final section, I argue for a more flexible and democratic planning process, which prioritises the well-being of current inhabitants over external markers of competitiveness and attractiveness to investors.


Anna Kornélia LOSONCZY / Budapest H
Rákospalota vs. Újpalota: Changing Centrality of District XV, Budapest

The XVth District of Budapest struggles with a dramatic shrinkage and the abandonment of traditional and planned local centres. Due to fragmentation caused by history, the city management must struggle with the legacy of two very different problem areas. The traditional garden city and its centre Rákospalota must face the degradation of building stock interconnected with social segregation, especially near the main traffic axes. Recently, due to the growing demand for prefab flats, the large housing estate Újpalota is prospering, but the lack of upper-level services can later cause problems as trends turn. Extensive industrial and commercial developments, including two malls, solved the supply problems only partially as they can only be approached by car. To stand competition with the settlements in the North-Eastern region, negotiation for public transport connections is crucial. Nevertheless, to face shrinkage, interdisciplinary strategies, cooperation, and the review of land use plans are also needed.


Ágnes BERTYÁK / Budapest H
Shrinking Villages – Population Retention and Tourism Development Opportunities of the Settlements of Őrség

The decline of settlements is not a new phenomenon. Throughout history settlements have always experienced population loss for various reasons, today, however, rural areas are more affected because of the urbanization processes that characterize Hungary and their more disadvantaged position in the economic competition, as well as their historical vicissitudes. One of the most endangered types of rural settlements is the small village. Some of the small villages were able to adapt to the situational endowments and changes that took place over time more successfully, while others lagged behind. The present research seeks to answer the question of how the processes taking place in the area of Őrség (Guard’s Country), which can be said to be successful among the shrinking small-village areas, differ from those taking place in other Hungarian village areas, and what kind of possible breakout points they can provide. In addition, methods for managing shrinkage in the Őrség area and planned developments they prescribe for its future survival and possible growth will be presented. The research relies mainly on quantitative data collection and analysis with the help of time series statistics from the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, development and structural plans, and a local questionnaire survey.


in the online+ session / OCT 09 / 9.00 am

Romana HAJDUKOVÁ & Alžbeta SOPIROVÁ / Bratislava Sk
Brownfields and Green Infrastructure in the Region of „Triangle of Death”

In the region of Upper Zemplín in Eastern Slovakia, three chemical factories were established in the 50s of the 20th centuries: Chemlon Humenné, Chemko Strážske and Bukóza Vranov nad Topľou. An increase in job opportunities has initiated the redevelopment of former rural structures into compact urban structures of housing estates and public amenities between the 50s and 80s. Socioeconomic changes after 1989 caused privatization of factories which led to reducing production and number of workers within a decade. The population started to decline, and urban structure decayed. However, these factories are still producing dangerous pollutants causing enormous environmental burdens, which gave this area infamous name “triangle of death.” The surplus of brownfields and vacant land which the real estate market cannot absorb creates the potential for improving green infrastructure. Implementing microclimate regulation and water retention measures, habitat services, recreational services and contaminant remediation can lead to mitigating climate change, protection of ecosystems and a healthier living environment for residents. This study aims to search for brownfields – lost spaces that can be transformed into green infrastructure. Their mapping and finding new land uses will provide a manual for municipal authorities for handling these spaces.