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URBACT II Capitalisation: Cities of Tomorrow, Action Today - Re-imagining the future in shrinking cities

This report calls for a new realism with regard to urban regeneration in cities affected by shrinkage. Drawing on a wide range of case studies and building on the most up-to-date debates about the causes and consequences of urban shrinkage, the URBACT workstream “Shrinking cities: challenges and opportunities” focuses on the development of sustainable strategy options for shrinking cities. We examine the generic aspects of developing realistic perspectives on strategic choices for shrinking cities and identify actions, process requirements and good practice in re-imaging a sustainable future. While we emphasise the importance of regional policies and development frameworks, we argue that shrinking cities should not rely on national or European institutions to arrest the shrinkage process. Developing a realistic forward strategy must come from within the shrinking city, because meaningful and deep collaboration between public agencies, businesses and citizens has been found to make all the difference between the success and failure of strategies designed to change a city’s fortunes. These processes need to be based on an acceptance that socio-economic development is an inherently evolutionary and cyclical process of change. Sustainable choices for shrinking cities are therefore unlikely to demonstrate a linear and predictable progression from the status quo to a better future.

Physical Urban Development
Abandoned Spaces
City Branding
City planning
Urban Renewal


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