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Urban shrinkage and resurgence in Germany


  • Florian Bartholomae

    (Bundeswehr University Munich, Germany)

  • Chang Woon Nam

    (Ifo Institute Munich and University of Applied Management Erding, Germany)

  • Alina Schoenberg

    (IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems, Austria)


This article questions the strict parallelism of demographic and economic development in characterising urban shrinkage in Germany. As the cases of several Ruhr cities and East German cities prove, urban economic growth can be achieved thanks to the substantial presence of modern industries and business services, and despite declines in population size. Serious shrinkages of Halle, Cottbus and Schwerin are primarily due to failures in the post-industrial transformation process. Recent policy measures strongly oriented towards slowing the downsizing process of population (via e.g. urban regeneration strategies) do not appear to be sufficient for achieving urban resurgence in these cities. More active industrial policy measures are required there to create a competitive high-tech manufacturing sector, to stimulate innovation activities and to boost its growth interdependence with modern local services and R&D infrastructure.

Suggested Citation

  • Florian Bartholomae & Chang Woon Nam & Alina Schoenberg, 2017. "Urban shrinkage and resurgence in Germany," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 54(12), pages 2701-2718, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:54:y:2017:i:12:p:2701-2718

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    Cited by:

    1. Bartholomae, Florian W., 2017. "Economic effects of recent social and technological developments," Working Papers in Economics 2017,4, Bundeswehr University Munich, Economic Research Group.
    2. Dani Broitman & Eric Koomen, 2020. "The attraction of urban cores: Densification in Dutch city centres," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 57(9), pages 1920-1939, July.
    3. Florian W. Bartholomae & Chang Woon Nam & Alina Schoenberg, 2017. "Urban Resurgence as a Consumer City: A Case Study for Weimar in Eastern Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 6610, CESifo.
    4. Florian W. Bartholomae & Alina M. Schoenberg, 2019. "Two Shades of Urban Shrinkage: Innovation and Economic Structure in Cities with a Declining Population," CESifo Forum, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 20(03), pages 15-19, October.


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