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Urban Shrinkage in Parkstad Limburg


  • Koen Elzerman
  • Marco Bontje


Once a flourishing mining area, Parkstad Limburg in the south of the Netherlands is now facing limited economic vitality and structural changes in its demographic composition. In a process of selective migration, young and highly educated people tend to move out of the region, while elderly and less- educated people stay. Shrinkage in Parkstad Limburg has resulted in a declining basis for economic activity, an unbalanced housing market, and policy responses in order to deal with these phenomena. Unfortunately acceptance of the phenomenon is a difficult step and a time-consuming process. While after years of denial most politicians and policy-makers in Parkstad Limburg have finally accepted the decline, the inhabitants of the region have to be confronted with inconvenient decisions like demolishing houses and the closure of public facilities. Based on the findings in Parkstad Limburg, it is concluded that a suitable policy response consists of the acceptance of shrinkage, developing a long-term vision, engaging the inhabitants in the process, restructuring the housing market, and fostering intensive regional collaboration.

Suggested Citation

  • Koen Elzerman & Marco Bontje, 2015. "Urban Shrinkage in Parkstad Limburg," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(1), pages 87-103, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eurpls:v:23:y:2015:i:1:p:87-103
    DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2013.820095

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    Cited by:

    1. Justyna Przywojska & Aldona Podgórniak-Krzykacz & Justyna Wiktorowicz, 2019. "Perceptions of Priority Policy Areas and Interventions for Urban Sustainability in Polish Municipalities: Can Polish Cities Become Smart, Inclusive and Green?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(14), pages 1-24, July.
    2. Sabine Meier, 2018. "Being Accommodated, Well Then? ‘Scalar Narratives’ on Urban Transformation and Asylum Seekers’ Integration in Mid-Sized Cities," Urban Planning, Cogitatio Press, vol. 3(4), pages 129-140.
    3. Josje J. Hoekveld & Marco Bontje, 2016. "Intra-Regional Differentiation of Population Development in Southern-Limburg, the Netherlands," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 107(3), pages 282-297, July.
    4. Zhenshan Yang, 2019. "Sustainability of Urban Development with Population Decline in Different Policy Scenarios: A Case Study of Northeast China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(22), pages 1-17, November.

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