The Phenomenon of Urban Shrinkage, ANeglected Concept in the Domestic Theoretical Literature; the Case of Harsin Town

Document Type : Original Article


M.Sc. School of Urban Planning, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran


Cities are dynamic systems that grow or decline under different factors. Urban shrinkage is one of the new phenomena in urban literature that was considered in the first decade of the 21st century. In fact, this concept represents a kind of urban decline that is affected by population decline, economy, environment, and other urban dimensions. The multidimensional and causal nature of this phenomenon has led to it appearing in the form of vicious cycles causing death in affected cities over time. Many factors from global to local levels can create or intensify this, including globalisation, competition, deindustrialisation, suburbanisation, and political decline.
Numerous studies and researches have in developed countries have measured the causes and effects of this phenomenon, but despite the importance of this concept, very little has been done in developing countries so far. This study aims to introduce urban shrinkage as one of the important issues largely neglected in the global south, and to investigate the drivers of urban shrinkage in the small-size town of Harsin. The research method is quantitative and qualitative, so that on the one hand, by examining the relevant statistics, the amount of population changes in different periods has been calculated, whilst on the other hand, by a content analysis of interviews with immigrants allows for the themes related to urban shrinkage, and thereby the drivers of this phenomenon to be extracted.
Examining the population studies of Kermanshah province, the research shows that in the cities of this province, five cities have lost population between2012 to 2017,with Harsin ranking highest with 11.6%. The content analysis of interviews shows that the most important drivers of Harsin urban shrinkage are to do with employment, lack of amenities, and socio-political problems.


Main Subjects

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