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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Shrinking Cities: Fuzzy Concept or Useful Framework?

  • Author(s): Olsen, Aksel K
  • et al.

Shrinking cities beset with sustained population losses have been the focus of a number of studies in the past decade. Much progress has been made in charting where they are and what cause them, but we are still at a point where more detailed case studies are needed for specificity and local context, keeping commonalities in mind but recognizing the crucial situational differences in how differently cities are situated. Per the observation that the term of shrinkage has been used for cities as diverse as Flint, MI and San Jose, CA, we will critically reflect on the concept of shrinking cities and argue how recognition of heterogeneity must be a starting point for any discussion of both analytical relevance and policy formulation.

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