For decades, urban planning and design professionals have focused on how to help cities manage growth. But what happens when growth stops and a city begins to contract?

A huge media debate is now raging on how to reconfigure cities to best adapt to smaller populations,  smaller economies, and different demands on the built environment. Some commentators argue against demolition at all costs, while other voices urge communities not to fear the bulldozer as a tool for urban change.

This blog is a product of the Shrinking Cities – Sustainability studio in Virginia Tech’s School of Urban Affairs and Planning, Alexandria Campus. We aim to explore the opportunities and challenges of shrinking cities in the context of contemporary urban planning. We will evaluate strategies and commentary on shrinking cities, including urban agriculture, storm water infrastructure, pocket parks, vacant property reclamation, land banks and community energy generation.

The studio is led by Joe Schilling, professor in practice in Urban Affairs and Planning at Virginia Tech.

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