Project Altergrowth (Alternative urban policies for shrinking cities) | ANR - Agence Nationale de la Recherche ANR funded project | ANR - Agence Nationale de la Recherche

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ANR funded project

Innovations (DS0801)
Edition 2014


Altergrowth


Alternative urban policies for shrinking cities

Altergrowth - Alternative policies for shrinking cities
This project aims at understanding the question of urban decline in a comparative perspective (France, Germany, the United States). It intends to understand how the issue of urban decline is socially and politically constructed and what are the responses to this issue at the national and local scales. More generally, the project will shed lights on the condition which foster the emergence of alternative urban policies in a context of crisis.

Analysing the processes and responses to urban shrinkage
This research project intends to contribute to the study of how French, German and American cities address the issue of demographic and economic decline. It takes place in a context of intensification and transformation of urban shrinkage, which is more than ever considered as a structural phenomenon. Alongside movements of deindustrialisation and suburbanisation, contemporary cities nowadays face problems of ageing and economic destabilisation that makes decline processes more intricate. However, while shrinkage is now visible in a growing number of cities, few local governments seem able to escape traditional policy responses oriented towards economic and demographic growth. There are three main research questions/objectives: how to best represent and analyse processes of economic and demographic decline? How to govern urban shrinkage and to promote the emergence of an alternative understanding of this issue? What are the contents and the tools of innovative ‘smart shrinkage’ policies and how could they appropriately address the rise of urban shrinkage as a global phenomenon?

Understanding urban shrinkage through a mix-method
The project is based on mix-method using both qualitative and quantitative analysis. Quantiative analysis will be made on a wide range of relevant data sources (INSEE Census, SIRENE, EDP, etc.), Qualitative analysis will be made trough semi-structured interivew and coument analysis.

Results

Main results will be detailed at the end of the project.

Outlook

Future prospect will be displayed at the en of the project.

Scientific outputs and patents

Béal V., Collet A., DeFilippis J., Ocejo R., Rousseau M. (2017), Villes en décroissance/Shrinking cities, Métropolitiques, Dossier Spécial, 27/03/2017.

Béal V., Fol S., Miot Y., Rousseau M. (2017), « Varieties of right-sizing strategies. Comparing degrowth coalitions in French shrinking cities », Urban Geography, In press.

Béal V., Fol S., Rousseau M. (2016), « De quoi le ‘smart shrinkage’ est-il le nom ? Les ambigüités des politiques de décroissance planifiée dans les villes américaines », Géographie, économie, société, vol. 18, 2016/2, p. 211-234.

Partners

SAGE Sociétés, Acteurs, Gouvernement en Europe

ANR grant: 198 501 euros
Beginning and duration: octobre 2014 - 36 mois

Submission abstract

This research project intends to contribute to the study of how French, German and American cities address the issue of demographic and economic decline. It takes place in a context of intensification and transformation of urban shrinkage, which is more than ever considered as a structural phenomenon. Alongside movements of deindustrialisation and suburbanisation, contemporary cities nowadays face problems of ageing and economic destabilisation that makes decline processes more intricate. However, while shrinkage is now visible in a growing number of cities, few local governments seem able to escape traditional policy responses oriented towards economic and demographic growth. These entrepreneurial strategies are based on the idea that the only path to urban redevelopment it to create the conditions for growth, to attract firms and wealthy social groups through the implementation of flagship regeneration projects and marketing policies. If those strategies have been successful in specific contexts, they are increasingly questioned mainly due to their lack of adjustment to a highly diversified urban reality and also to their social and environmental costs.

The project aims at exploring this paradox of cities that tend to respond to specific problems of urban decline by developing ‘mainstream’ strategies. To do this, it intends to provide an interdisciplinary understanding of urban shrinkage phenomena and to shed light on the conditions and logics of the implementation of alternative urban policies. Through the combination of quantitative analysis and local case studies, it seeks to address three main questions: how to best represent and analyze processes of economic and demographic decline? How to govern urban shrinkage and to promote the emergence of an alternative understanding of this issue? What are the contents and the tools of innovative ‘smart shrinkage’ policies and how could they appropriately address the rise of urban shrinkage as a global phenomenon?

To answer these questions, the project first aims at providing an in depth understanding of urban shrinkage in France, before comparing it to the German and American situations. A quantitative approach will then be developed to measure, breakdown and analyse shrinkage in French urban areas. The team will build on these first results and implement local surveys in three cities (Saint-Etienne, Montbéliard and Roubaix), which will aim at refining the understanding of shrinkage patterns but also at introducing the topic of the governance of this issue. The data produced for French urban shrinkage will then be compared to German and US situations through a second-hand quantitative analysis and a first-hand qualitative analysis of the cases of Halle and Youngstown. Finally, a qualitative analysis of ‘smart shrinkage’ strategies will be developed in the three cities in which such strategies have been already implemented.

 

ANR Programme: Innovations (DS0801) 2014

Project ID: ANR-14-CE29-0004

Project coordinator:
Monsieur Vincent Béal (Sociétés, Acteurs, Gouvernement en Europe)

Project web site: http://alterpo.hypotheses.org/

 

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The project coordinator is the author of this abstract and is therefore responsible for the content of the summary. The ANR disclaims all responsibility in connection with its content.