How Shrinking Cities Are 'Right Sizing'

Case studies in dealing with population loss from Ohio, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

1 minute read

March 2, 2020, 6:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Youngstown, Ohio

Linda Waldrop / Shutterstock

Matt Krupnick writes about the latest examples of cities shrinking in population but embracing the change to "right size" their built environment to the new reality:

A community never wants to be known as a “shrinking city” these days, no matter what the numbers say about how many people have moved away and how many old factories or homes are vacant, weeds and trash having taken over properties that once marked important industrial centers.

Although most US cities in that predicament have gone to great lengths to avoid admitting shrinkage publicly, with many branding themselves as “legacy cities”, some have taken innovative steps to accept the new reality: that they will never return to their former glory and need to adapt to their smaller size.

There are at least 80 cities losing population in the United States, according to Krupnick, and the article surveys Baltimore, Maryland; New Bedford, Massachusetts; and Youngstown, Ohio for case studies on right sizing.

Thursday, February 13, 2020 in The Guardian

Red on white 'Room for Rent, Inquire Inside' sign

In Most U.S. Cities, Archaic Laws Limit Roommate Living

Critics argue laws preventing unrelated adults from living in the same home fail to understand the modern American household.

May 24, 2023 - The Atlantic

Vancouver Chuck Wolfe

Ten Signs of a Resurgent Downtown

In GeekWire, Chuck Wolfe continues his exploration of a holistic and practical approach to post-pandemic urban center recovery, anchored in local context and community-driven initiatives that promote livability, safety, and sustainability.

May 24, 2023 - GeekWire

New York MTA subway station

Off-Peak is the New On-Peak

Public transit systems in major U.S. cities are starting to focus on non-rush hour travelers as pre-pandemic commuting patterns shift and transportation needs change.

May 19, 2023 - Curbed

Nighttime view of Tacoma, Washington skyline

Tacoma Coalition Calls for ‘Tenants’ Bill of Rights’

The group wants to put more power in the hands of tenants, but the city has its own, competing proposal for addressing the housing crisis.

May 26 - The Urbanist

Wind turbines sillhouetted against a sunset sky along roadway in New Mexico

New Power Transmission Line Approved in the Southwest

The proposed transmission line will transfer wind-produced power from New Mexico to cities in Arizona and California.

May 26 - U.S. News And World Report

Aerial view of 238 freeway in Oakland, California cutting through neighborhood with small houses

The Limitations of ‘Reconnecting Communities’

The Biden administration has pledged to correct the damage imposed on communities by highways and infrastructure, but many projects are only committing to minor improvements, not transformative changes.

May 26 - The New York Times

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.