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Due to the economical and political changes marked by globalization, neo-liberalism and, post-industrialism a changed spatial configuration is emerging in which an increased division is taking place, into on the one hand, economical and demographical growing urban areas, where the urban fabric is being concentrated, and on the other, into declining urban areas that experience a dilution of the urban fabric and a de-concentration of people and capital. This gives an uneven spatial geography where some places are becoming nodal points in the global society and others are left behind. But the urban situation of concentration and de-concentration is also closely connected where there is a dynamic relation between the two. Decline might in some cases even be seen as an aspect of growth, where the growth of some places influence the decline in others. With this approach the urban fabric can, therefore, best be described as a conglomerate of greater and smaller urban concentrations living in the same organism. In this conglomerate there are build and open spaces as well as urban growth and urban decline. This corresponds with present urban theory that turns the back on a concentric understanding of the urban; having a city center with a surrounding periphery. Instead a poly-nuclear approach where the urban world is a structure of enclaves connected through networks is found suitable (Nielsen 2001; Flusty and Dear 1999).

Against this background this paper will explore the concept of urban transformation as a way of understanding the dynamic relations between growth and decline.

Original languageEnglish
Publication date2009
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventUPE8 - PARALLEL PATTERNS OF URBAN GROWTH AND DECLINE -Sustainability Issues and Challenges for Spatial Planning in 21st Century Cities and Regions - Kaiserslautern, Germany
Duration: 23 Mar 200926 Mar 2009
Conference number: 8


ConferenceUPE8 - PARALLEL PATTERNS OF URBAN GROWTH AND DECLINE -Sustainability Issues and Challenges for Spatial Planning in 21st Century Cities and Regions


  • urban transformation
  • relational approach
  • urban design
  • spatial polarization
  • uneven spatial geography

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