36th AESOP Annual Congress 2024 Paris, France
“GAME CHANGER? Planning for just and sustainable urban regions”

20 years of shrinking cities research – lessons learned and ways forward

Organizers :  

  • Emmanuèle Cunningham-Sabot, École Normale Supérieure
  • Maxwell Hart, Queen’s University
  • Karina Pallagst, University of Kaiserslautern-Landau
  • Jasmin Aber, Creative Exchange Lab (CEL)
  • Kai Zhou, Hunan University
  • Norma Schemschat, University of Amsterdam
  • Charline Sowa, CDHU, Conseil Développement Habitat Urbanisme (Troyes)
  • Helen Mulligan, Cambridge Architectural Research Limited

20 years ago, an international group of scholars came together to research, unpack, and discuss the multifaceted, multi-scalar, complex planning challenges of urban shrinkage. To advance and inform the burgeoning debate, they founded the Shrinking Cities International Research Network. The research conducted by the network and its members sets the foundation for what is now a well-established area of research that cuts across myriad disciplinary, geographical, and theoretical contexts. From the political transformations of Eastern Europe to the bankruptcy of Detroit to the migrant’s crisis, shrinking cities are on the agenda, as a permanent symptom of modern globalization. And as birth rates continue to fall around the world, climate-induced disasters escalate, and the political discourse on immigration becomes increasingly heated, new shrinking cities will emerge, and many existing ones will continue to struggle.

This roundtable will bring together multiple generations of shrinking cities scholars and professionals dealing with shrinking cities, from around the world to reflect on the past, describe the present, and debate the future of shrinking cities research, planning and policy responses, and the opportunities and challenges moving forward. The roundtable will include founding, mid-career, and early career members of the Shrinking Cities International Research Network.

Keywords: Shrinking cities, urban decline, demographic change