Smart Cities - A new topic for shrinking city research

Authors: Jakob Schackmar*, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Urban Geography, Land Use
Keywords: smart cities, shrinking cities, substitute industries, urban revitalization
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 17
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In the wake of globalization, many cities and regions underwent structural transformations during the last decades. Many of these ‘shrinking cities’ around the world are located in old industrialized ‘rust belts’ or in peripheral rural areas and have to face the challenges of long-term demographic and economic changes. While in the USA, shrinkage is often related to postindustrial transformations in other countries like Germany for example, the causes are related to changing demographics with declining birth rates and the effects of the German reunification. Many cities have tried to counteract the effects of shrinkage and have thus developed a variety of policies and strategies like establishing substitute industries- mostly aimed at generating new jobs- as revitalization approach.
The emerging term of ‘smart city’ is being used as a general leitmotiv for cities and urban planning in general. Since in shrinking cities many instruments and initiatives where applied in the past with more or less successful outcomes, new smart city related solutions could pave the way for revitalisation (in the future). The research presented here argues that urban planning might play a role in bringing this technological framework forward, to cater to the needs of shrinking cities in a more efficient, social and sustainable way.
In this context, this research discusses introducing smart city strategies and technologies to reinvent shrinking cities, by means of the investigated case studies of Cincinnati/USA and Bochum/Germany. The analysis of these cases might generate knowledge on the success and lessons of this revitalisation approach.


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