The goal of the international study initiated by the project Shrinking Cities is to further the comparative discussion, thus far neglected, of the problem of shrunken cities. The study aims to foster the exchange of experience and knowledge and to contribute to the formation of an international working community. With the study, we hope to gain deeper insights into the processes of and into new aspects of dealing with shrinking urban spaces. It will also provide a basis for developing interventions in shrinking cities. The international study comprises on-site studies of the four examined places, a global statistical study, and cultural research.
Each site stands for a specific form of shrinking: In Detroit (USA), the focus is on the consequences of suburbanization, in Manchester/Liverpool (Britain) on deindustrialization, and in Ivanovo (Russian Federation) on post-socialism, while in the Halle/Leipzig region (Germany) several of these factors come together.
Study Teams /// Taking part in the research are geographers, ethnologists, cultural studies experts, journalists, architects, and artists.During the one-year work process, the four teams will meet on the various sites. The curatorial team will determine the processing rules and moderate the work process.
Global Context /// Beyond that, the project Shrinking Cities will for the first time investigate and document urban shrinking as a global phenomenon. The results of the statistical study will be depicted in maps and diagrams, to be published in 2005 in an atlas of shrinking.
Supplementing this, short portraits of forty shrinking cities all over the world will be presented. The portraits show that shrinking can be triggered by such causes as political events, military conflicts, economic and health developments, or geographical facts.
Culture of Shrinking /// Film, photography, fashion, music, visual art, and literature have long since taken up and widely varied the topic of shrinking in their repertoire of images and text. Detailed research in the various artistic disciplines will bring this repertoire together for the first time and examine it comparatively.
Presentation of the Results ///
The scholarly and artistic results of the international study will be presented in Fall 2004 in an exhibition and a book.