Shrinking Cities in Post-Socialist Nations; China, Russia & Poland

Authors: Chung-Tong Wu*, Western Sydney University
Topics: China, Urban Geography, Russia
Keywords: shrinking cities, post-socialist countries, China, Russia, Poland
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: 8212, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Compared to the vast literature on shrinking cities in North America and Western Europe, research on the same phenomenon in China is only emerging. Furthermore, China is not alone among post-socialist countries to experience urban shrinkage. Comparisons with other post-socialist countries, specifically Russia and selected East Central European nations, have the potential to deepen our understanding of the causes, patterns and planning of shrinking cities. Based on published research and several in-preparation studies on the above-mentioned countries, this paper summarizes what is available about shrinking cities in post-socialist countries with examples from China, Russia and Poland. It outlines the causes of shrinkage in post-socialist countries, identifies the regional variations of urban shrinkage and the reasons for the policy responses or lack of responses. While post-socialist countries may have similar background with command economy type of development and associated spatial policies, their experience post-socialist are diverse. For example, the legacy of uneven regional development, the political economy of urban production, specific spatial policies and planning culture are among the key features in China. Even though China has recently shifted from a single-minded growth paradigm, its legacy hinders research on shrinking cities and limits comprehensive policy responses. However, there is evidence that this is slowly changing, with initial focus chiefly on resource depleted regions. Shrinking cities in other post-socialist countries reflects their history of spatial development, changing demographic dynamics and access to more vibrant economies. Diversity of discourse about shrinking cities in post-socialist nations is reflected in differences in their policy responses

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