Shrinking Cities

April 22, 2010, 5am PDT

In a rebuttal to Roberta Brandes Gratz's argument against shrinking cities, planner Brian J.

Brian J. Connolly
April 19, 2010, 5am PDT
The theory that shrinking ailing cities is going to cure them is unproven and wrongheaded, says Roberta Brandes Gratz -- and is fueled by the same forces behind the urban renewal practices of the mid-20th century.
Roberta Brandes Gratz
April 12, 2010, 1pm PDT
After unification, many East German towns began losing jobs and population. In 2003, the government formed a group to study how these cities could best recover. The results are in.
Speigel International
April 5, 2010, 5am PDT
Justin B. Hollander at Tufts University looks at the increasing shrinkage of cities like Flint, Michigan and Youngstown, Ohio and the myriad strategies these cities are taking to shrink effectively.
March 19, 2010, 9am PDT
Urban planning expert Toni Griffin has been recruited to help Detroit downsize and recover -- thanks to an infusion of money from a private philanthropic foundation.
March 2, 2010, 5am PST
"If we don't do it, you know this whole city is going to go down," said the Mayor. A new study by the mayor's staff shows that roughly one in three parcels are vacant lots or abandoned homes.
The Detroit News
February 15, 2010, 7am PST
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is reportedly open to the idea of downsizing the city, and is looking for other fresh ideas to help the city's economy return to a sustainable place.
The Detroit News
December 31, 2009, 10am PST

Over the course of the year, the editors of Planetizen review and post summaries of hundreds of articles, reports, books, studies, and editorials related to planning and urban development.

Nate Berg
November 8, 2009, 9am PST
This week's <em>Smart City</em> features discussions with Harvard economist Ed Glaeser about shrinking cities, and with urban design critic Randy Gragg about interactive art and urban design projects.
Smart City
July 9, 2009, 9am PDT
Bulldoze? Densify? Walk away? There are many ways cities can react to shrinking populations and abandoned neighborhoods. Planetizen readers decide which ways are the best.
Nate Berg
June 29, 2009, 10am PDT
As the recession digs in, cities across the country are left with large swaths of abandoned or vacant places. Can these cities shrink gracefully? Do they even need to? Vote on ideas submitted by the Planetizen community, or suggest your own.
June 23, 2009, 7am PDT
Struggling cities are increasingly looking at the idea of bulldozing vacant properties and "shrinking". But two columnists argue it might not be such a good idea.
April 29, 2009, 6am PDT
Population shrinkage in cities like Flint, Michigan can be the perfect opportunity to employ 'smart decline' to make such cities denser and more livable.
April 23, 2009, 1pm PDT
Flint, Michigan is another ailing city that is considering demolishing entire neighborhoods and returning them to nature as a way to save the rest of the city from blight.
The New York Times
December 22, 2008, 5am PST
Detroit's population is rapidly declining, but the answer to revitalizing the city may lie in part in urban farming.
The Salt Lake Tribune
November 25, 2008, 2pm PST
Once New Orleans comes to terms with the fact that it is a shrinking city, the city's culture and geographic location can help bring it back.
The Times-Picayune
Blog post
July 1, 2007, 11am PDT

I’m not basing this quick observation on any specific historical research or book, so bear with me. Cities grow and shrink; in effect they change rapidly (although sometimes it doesn’t seem rapidly enough and at other times all too rapidly). Where we operate in that continuum I think shapes much of how we see our role as professionals. Planning to address either shrinking cities or growing ones can seem, at times, like totally different professions. A colleague of mine remarked that planning for shrinking cities is definitely a niche market. With so much discussion surrounding growth and how we grow, there is much less dialog that defines the opposite.

Scott Page