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Governance of shrinkage within a European context

Activity Code: SSH-2007-2.2-01
Coordinator: Prof. Dr Dieter Rink,
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ


It is the aim of SHRINK SMART to study the role of policies and governance systems in different types of shrinking urban regions. It is based on comparative case studies from seven urban regions throughout Europe with a focus on disadvantaged urban regions in Eastern and Southern Europe that will provide a basis for analyzing different trajectories of shrinkage, understanding main challenges for urban planning and elaborating alternatives for urban governance.

Firstly, the impact of shrinkage for urban and regional development that are caused by population losses will be identified focusing on different fields; the main challenges will be elaborated in a comparative perspective. Secondly, the relation between local institutional structures and modes of decision making on the one hand and the challenges of shrinkage on the other will be analysed. Here, the focus will be on strategies and instruments, on the relation of public and private actors and on institutional frameworks and cross-scale interactions. As a result, different trajectories of shrinkage processes within Europe will be defined and a set of policy recommendations for different constellations of shrinking cities will be developed.

Furthermore, with the aim of providing practicable knowledge for decision-makers, SHRINK SMART will engage in extensive dissemination activities and develop a set of tools and policy recommendations. Summarizing, SHRINK SMART embarks on the following key objectives: to identify main challenges caused by shrinkage for urban and regional development, to develop an analytical framework for understanding the challenges of development in different types of shrinking urban regions, to draw lessons and develop sustainable and transferable policy-recommendations, to establish a network of experts on the phenomenon of shrinking urban regions, to discuss the findings with practitioners and policy-makers in order to improve transferability of knowledge into action.

Project Details:

Start Date: 01.05.2009
End Date: 30.04.2012
EU Contribution: 1.5 Mio. Euro
Total Costs: 1.99 Mio. Euro
Funding Scheme: Small or medium-scale focused research project 
Administrative Contact Person:
Annette Schmidt, annette.schmidt@ufz.de
Scientific Coordinator:
Prof. Dr Dieter Rink, dieter.rink@ufz.de
Project Website:http://www.shrinksmart.ufz.de/


  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Germany
  • Industrial Economics Institute - National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Ukraine
  • Universitatae de vest din Timisoara, Romania
  • Universita degli Studi di Roma la Sapienza, Italy
  • Uniwersytet Slaski, Poland
  • Ostravska Univerzita v Ostrave, Czech Republic
  • Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom
  • The University of Nottingham, United Kingdom