Citizen participation in shrinking urban areas

With few exceptions, cities and towns all across Europe currently face the effects of ageing and depopulation. In the future, the entire continent is expected to feel the impact of shrinkage on its towns, cities and regions.

This year’s EUKN Key Publication presents a thorough overview of the effects of shrinkage on European towns, cities and regions. What is most remarkable about the publication is that it focuses very strongly on civil initiatives and resident participation in shrinking areas. It provides an overview of inspiring examples of active citizens who have taken matters into their own hands and developed their own creative solutions.

In the United Kingdom for example, residents of the village of Hesket Newmarket bought their local pub. In Idom and Raasted (DK) citizens set up their own multifunctional centre. In Parkstad Limburg (NL), creative companies and freelancers created their own online network to promote their activities. In the Czech Republic, youngsters were asked to design their own skate park. While in Rieseland (DE), locals run their own bus service to allow elderly people to remain active and mobile.

The projects developed by residents show that shrinkage does not necessarily have to be seen as a problem. Instead, shrinkage can also be used as an opportunity to re-adjust the city to changing times, and turn it into a habitable, attractive place to live. Both today and in the future.

The publication can be downloaded here

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