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.