Sunday, June 14, 2009

UC Berkeley: Shrinking Cities Group

image Today, every 6th city in the world can be defined as a “shrinking city.”  This is a multidimensional phenomenon encompassing cities, parts of cities, or metropolitan areas that are experiencing a dramatic decline in their economic and social bases.  The causes of this urban decline are many and complex, though one common denominator is that each “shrinking city” has been significantly impacted by the forces of globalization.  Marked by a loss of employment opportunities and the attendant out-migration of population, many shrinking cities have suffered from the post-industrial shift from manufacturing to service industries (e.g., Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Manchester/UK).  Other factors contributing to this decline are the so-called “second generation” transformations in the high-tech sector (e.g., the collapse of the dot-com industry in California) and economic changes wrought by the dissolution of socialist systems (e.g., in eastern Germany).  These processes, among others, have drained essential investment and resources from many urban areas, leaving the remaining cities with an ever-diminishing fiscal base.

The Shrinking Cities Group's work is carried out under the aegis of the Institute of Urban and Regional Development. The work draws upon the Institute's long-standing research experience in regional development and its vital worldwide networking activities with experts in research and policymaking.

Shrinking Cities Group

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