06/2016 - 05/2018


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Karina M. Pallagst,

Dipl.-Ing. M.Sc. René Fleschurz

Project description

Different institutional and cultural factors have led to spatial planning systems which show general comparable characteristics but are specific to cultural, normative and spatial framework conditions. Despite the increasing demand to take into account these particular framework conditions in the scientific spatial research, the topic of planning cultures, is still a young research topic in the context of urban and regional development.

Shrinking cities have been a stigmatized topic in spatial planning for a long time. The spectrum of strategies, which are applied in shrinking cities today, is diverse and reaches from substitute industries like tourism, right sizing (i.e. systematic demolition) to green infrastructure. The application of the right strategies seems to be decisive for the sustainable development of shrinking cities and leads to the assumption that planning in shrinking cities cannot function under the same preconditions as urban growth. Instead a paradigm shift is necessary which is different to the one of growth.

The basic hypothesis of this project is that the phenomenon of shrinking cities offers the opportunity to compare the principles on which traditional planning is based and by doing this, makes it possible to discover potential changes of planning cultures. The opportunities of shrinking cities seem to offer the potential to initiate changes, reforms, and if applicable even innovations in planning cultures. This is the basis for the project’s research approach. The aim of the project is to compare the changing tendencies of planning systems and cultures in the light of shrinking cities in the USA, Germany and Japan. Particularly, it is to be focused on, 1st, the comparing analysis of planning strategies and instruments referring to the primary causes of urban shrinkage, 2nd, the analysis of the relations between planning-cultural and societal changes in the frame of shrinking processes and, 3rd, the formulation of hypotheses which arise from the planning-cultural comparison of future-oriented planning strategies in shrinking cities respectively the development of planning cultures. Taking into account the methods of comparable urban research, and an analytical grid to be developed, the three case study cities shall be analyzed in an embedded case study. The three cities Bochum/Germany, Cleveland/USA and Nagasaki/Japan are the case study locations. They were chosen because of similar framework conditions in terms of shrinking paths, population size as well as economic and industrial structures.

Link to PlanShrinking² Website