Urban and Regional Planning Review
Online ISSN : 2187-3399
ISSN-L : 2187-3399
Urban Shrinkage Research
A Systematic Literature Review
Yuqi ZhangChiho Ochiai
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2024 Volume 11 Pages 113-130


Urban shrinkage has emerged as a global phenomenon in recent decades, attracting increasing attention from scholars since the early 2000s, with broader geographical scope and research topics. However, there is a lack of systematic reviews encompassing the evolution of discourse, shifting focus, and national context comparisons. This research analyzed 98 articles directly related to urban shrinkage studies from both qualitative and quantitative perspectives to provide a comprehensive overview of current research. The results show that research on shrinking cities emerged in the 2000s, and it has received worldwide attention, with significant studies conducted in the United States, Germany, Japan, and China. Most of the studies have been conducted at the city level. The most prevalent topics are the causes of urban shrinkage and response policies. The perception of urban shrinkage shows a change from unacceptance to acceptance, and the coping strategies have been adjusted accordingly. There are two main planning paradigms: growth-oriented planning and shrinkage-adapted planning. While many scholars have advocated for approaches like “smart shrinkage” and “right-sizing,” some studies have questioned their feasibility and effectiveness. Among the specific coping strategies, economic restructuring and addressing vacancy issues are the focus of attention. Additionally, the discourse and focus of research on shrinking cities vary from country to country, and there are also differences in response policies and involved actors. Furthermore, this study identified blind spots in current research for future exploration.

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