There are shrinking cities, whether open and visible, or secret and hidden ones, all over the world, not only in the industrially-developed countries of Europe and America, but also (notwithstanding the growth of "megapolises" and "global cities") in Asia and Africa - and even in small countries such as Switzerland. A large number of locations were considered as subjects for the Shrinking Cities investigation, its exhibition and publications. The candidates finally selected were: Detroit, Ivanovo, Manchester / Liverpool and Halle / Leipzig.
Detroit is probably the largest (and in its cityscape most striking) example of a metropolis that is continually shrinking: a process that has been going on there for over fifty years.
// Portrait Detroit // Team // Digital publication: Working Paper Detroit
Ivanovo is not one of the new cities built on green-field sites under communism. However, it was wholly reliant on the manufacture of textiles and today the effects of the radical economic and social changes that have occurred since the end of the Soviet Union can be seen throughout the city.
// Portrait Ivanovo // Team // Digital publication: Working Paper Ivanovo
Manchester and Liverpool are, in fact, the oldest industrial cities in the world. They have been shrinking since the nineteen-thirties and are of significance for this project, because after a long period of decline, their City Councils have found ways out of the crisis.
// Portrait Manchester / Liverpool // Team // Digital publication: Working Paper Manchester / Liverpool
Closer to home (and thus inviting the interventions which form the second phase of the project) are Halle und Leipzig, which since the end of the GDR have been trying to make use of their respective local, economic and cultural resources and to develop new sources of growth and wealth.
// Portrait Halle / Leipzig // Team // Digital publication: Working Paper Halle / Leipzig
By today, the Ruhr Valley in Germany has lost about 10 percent of its inhabitants, despite immigration. Some cities have even lost 30 percent. It is assumed that the population will continue to decline for the next 20 years – in some communities by as much as another 15 percent.
/// Portrait Ruhr Valley
While the great agglomerations around Tokyo and Osaka increasingly attract people and activities, most of the other cities in Japan are shrinking, because the total population of the country has been dwindling for several years. The port city Hakodate, situated on the southern coast of Japan’s northern island, Hokkaido, is a typical example.
/// Portrait Hakodate /// Digital publication: Complete Works 3: Japan (300 pages, engl./jap.)