Civic action and urban shrinkage: Exploring the link

Maja Rocak, Gerrit J. Hospers, Nol Reverda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In Europe, urban shrinkage is a widespread phenomenon with future relevance. To date, most academic and policy literature has explored the spatial impacts of this phenomenon, focusing on the infrastructure side (hardware), whereas social aspects of urban shrinkage (software) have been mostly overlooked. This paper indicates the gap regarding the software aspects of urban shrinkage. It examines the link between civic action and urban shrinkage, and finds that the concept of civic action is often promoted as a normative requirement for maintaining an area’s quality of life. In the authors’ view, social capital and civic action in the context of urban shrinkage could be valuable resources, but should not be overrated. In this respect, the authors identify and illustrate three scenarios of civic action in the context of urban shrinkage, namely (1) increased civic action, (2) no change in civic action and (3) reduced civic action. They conclude that a social theory of urban shrinkage is needed to give the debate on urban shrinkage a new impulse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-418
JournalJournal of urban regeneration and renewal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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