Workshop summary - The Governance of Urban Shrinkage in Europe: Challenges and Prospects
On Monday, 26 March 2012, took place a Policy Informing Workshop of the EU 7 FP project Shrink Smart titled: The Governance of Urban Shrinkage in Europe: Challenges and Prospects. The workshop dealing with governance challenges in shrinking European cities and urban regions gathered some 40 participants including representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Eurocities network as well as urban researchers and planners from different European countries. During the workshop, the Shrink Smart project researchers presented key findings of their project and policy recommendations elaborated on base of these results. The presentations were completed by impulse statements from urban planners, representatives of the Eurocities network and the EC FP scientific coordination.
Urban shrinkage is especially widespread across Europe
Urban shrinkage is not a specific European but a global phenomenon. It is, however, especially wide-spread across Europe. Due to recent studies, 40 per cent of large European cities are shrinking, the majority of them in Europe’s eastern parts. There are different trajectories of shrinkage within Europe reaching from long-term shrinking cities to more recently shrinking cities in Eastern Europe as a result of postsocialist transition. Shrinkage is the result of different factors such as demographic change, economic decline or suburbanization. Shrinkage affects large cities as well as smaller and medium-sized cities, too. It has become a normal pathway of European urban development. It creates a big range of problems at the local scale that may range from surplus housing and vacancy rates creating problems for the housing market, high unemployment, the revitalization and management of brownfield sites as well as pressures on local budgets. Therefore, planners and policy-makers have to deal with the impacts of shrinkage and to develop new strategies of development. As the Shrink Smart project included 7 urban regions from all over Europe, it not only created new knowledge and a network of experts on shrinking cities. It also was able to directly support agenda setting by putting the issue into local and regional debate and media such as in Bytom (Poland). During the workshop, planners presented their views and solutions from shrinking cities, too, and argued that despite the tight budgets and conditions that cities are under, it is still possible to provide solutions for most of the problems that occur from shrinkage.
Read the rest of the workshop summary in the See also folder on the right hand side.
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