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How does(n't) Urban Shrinkage get onto the Agenda? Experiences from Leipzig, Liverpool, Genoa and Bytom

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  • Matthias Bernt
  • Annegret Haase
  • Katrin Großmann
  • Matthew Cocks
  • Chris Couch
  • Caterina Cortese
  • Robert Krzysztofik

Abstract

This article discusses the question of how urban shrinkage gets onto the agenda of public-policy agencies. It is based on a comparison of the agenda-setting histories of four European cities, Liverpool (UK), Leipzig (Germany), Genoa (Italy) and Bytom (Poland), which have all experienced severe population losses but show very different histories with respect to how local governments reacted to them. We use the political-science concepts of ‘systemic vs. institutional agendas’ and ‘policy windows’ as a conceptual frame to compare these experiences. The article demonstrates that shrinkage is hardly ever responded to in a comprehensive manner but rather that policies are only implemented in a piecemeal way in selected fields. Moreover, it is argued that variations in institutional contexts and political dynamics lead to considerable differences with regard to the chances of making shrinkage a matter of public intervention. Against this background, the article takes issue with the idea that urban shrinkage only needs to be ‘accepted’ by policymakers who would need to overcome their growth-oriented cultural perceptions, as has been suggested in a number of recent writings, and calls for a more differentiated, context-sensitive view.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Bernt & Annegret Haase & Katrin Großmann & Matthew Cocks & Chris Couch & Caterina Cortese & Robert Krzysztofik, 2014. "How does(n't) Urban Shrinkage get onto the Agenda? Experiences from Leipzig, Liverpool, Genoa and Bytom," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(5), pages 1749-1766, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ijurrs:v:38:y:2014:i:5:p:1749-1766
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Colin Mcfarlane, 2010. "The Comparative City: Knowledge, Learning, Urbanism," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(4), pages 725-742, December.
    2. Paul Kantor & H.V. Savitch, 2005. "How to Study Comparative Urban Development Politics: A Research Note," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(1), pages 135-151, March.
    3. Jennifer Robinson, 2011. "Cities in a World of Cities: The Comparative Gesture," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(1), pages 1-23, January.
    4. Thorsten Wiechmann & Karina M. Pallagst, 2012. "Urban shrinkage in Germany and the USA: A Comparison of Transformation Patterns and Local Strategies," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(2), pages 261-280, March.
    5. Justin B. Hollander & Jeremy Németh, 2011. "The bounds of smart decline: a foundational theory for planning shrinking cities," Housing Policy Debate, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(3), pages 349-367, June.
    6. Robert A Beauregard, 2009. "Urban Population Loss in Historical Perspective: United States, 1820–2000," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 41(3), pages 514-528, March.
    7. Brendan Nevin, 2004. "Dealing with Housing Abandonment: A Coherent Framework to Facilitate Urban Restructuring?," Local Economy, London South Bank University, vol. 19(1), pages 1-7, February.
    8. Ellis Delken, 2008. "Happiness in shrinking cities in Germany," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 213-218, June.
    9. Birgit Glock & Hartmut Häussermann, 2004. "New trends in urban development and public policy in eastern Germany: dealing with the vacant housing problem at the local level," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(4), pages 919-929, December.
    10. Matthias Bernt, 2009. "Partnerships for Demolition: The Governance of Urban Renewal in East Germany's Shrinking Cities," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 754-769, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Xiao, Huijuan & Duan, Zhiyuan & Zhou, Ya & Zhang, Ning & Shan, Yuli & Lin, Xiyan & Liu, Guosheng, 2019. "CO2 emission patterns in shrinking and growing cities: A case study of Northeast China and the Yangtze River Delta," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 251(C), pages 1-1.

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