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Conceptualizing demographic shrinkage in a growing region – Creating opportunities for spatial practice

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Demographic transitions have an impact on the landscape and urban development. However, when planning for demographic growth, the concept of demographic shrinkage is seldom considered. Consequently, many opportunities for qualitative landscape interventions and urban development remain unnoticed. This article proposes a conceptualization for demographic shrinkage within the context of the growing region of Flanders, Belgium. Demographic statistics, indicators for the risk of shrinkage, and local opinions from the region are cross-referenced with the shrinking cities discourse. Our research shows that Flanders is shrinking in some parts, has a risk of shrinking in many more areas, and should shrink in strategic places from a resilience perspective. Contrary to demographic shrinkage in other parts of Europe and the world, which covers vast territories and results in urban decline, demographic shrinkage in the region of Flanders manifests itself very locally and on a small scale. The research suggests introducing the use of "shrinkage in growth" to implement its specific opportunities and overcome the possible negative effects of shrinkage. The concept of shrinkage in growth implies a systemic understanding of different scales and an integrated spatial practice that goes beyond the strategy of constructing more housing in order to attract more inhabitants.
Tijdschrift: Landscape & Urban Planning
ISSN: 0169-2046
Volume: 195
Jaar van publicatie:2019