“Whether in the USA, Britain, or Belgium, Finland, Italy, Russia, Kazakhstan, or China: everywhere, cities are shrinking. The dramatic development in eastern Germany since 1989, which has led to more than a million empty apartments and to the abandoning of countless industrial parks and social and cultural facilities, has proven to be no exception, but a general pattern of our civilization. Shrunken cities contradict the image, familiar since the Industrial Revolution, of the “boomtown”, a big city characterized by constant economic and demographic growth. Shrunken cities spur a reconsideration not only of traditional ideas of the European city, but also of the future development of urban worlds.
The drastic changes in cities caused by shrinking thus present not only an economic and social, but also a cultural challenge. Urban shrinking can hardly be affected by city planning, and it brings numerous problems. (…) Shrinking Cities, a three-year initiative project of Germany’s Federal Cultural Foundation, seeks to explore the processes of urban shrinking in places such as Detroit.”