Agnes Matoga is a 1st year PhD candidate at the Department of International Planning Systems at TU Kaiserslautern. Currently she is working on the topic of governance in accommodating shrinkage as well as the role of spatial planning within shrinking environments.
Temporal fluctuations are inherent to urban development considering the dynamic process of urban growth and shrinkage as well as rapidly changing economic, political and societal circumstances. While the planning discipline has been suffering from inadequate instruments and concepts catered towards long-term and linear development, planners, practitioners and especially urban theorists are indeed aware of the need for increased fuzziness and dismantling of administrative barriers in order to cope with such non-linear developments. However, surprising events such as mass-migration, financial and housing crises, political turnovers, which can lead to sudden developments such as urban and regional shrinkage, still leave planners and experts surprised, at times even powerless due to particular mind-sets which have developed over time and are focused on permanence and a static state (Boelens & De Roo, 2016). Meanwhile a dynamic around citizen-led, bottom-up, informal, creative activities can be observed worldwide and terms like “do-it-yourself urbanism” (Iveson, 2013), “tactical urbanism” (Lydon & Garcia, 2011), “guerilla urbanism” (Hou, 2010) or “participatory urbanism” (Wortham-Galwin, 2013) have made their way into the academic mainstream (Fabian & Samson, 2016; Iveson, 2013). Urban developments such as shrinkage are complex processes regarding the multitude of involved actors, their interests, motivations, resources and their interplay on various levels. This research seeks to explore governance processes in shrinking territories in order to critically assess
1) who the key players in planning processes are and what form of relation they have established;
2) how negotiation processes unfold within democratic societies;
3) what the roles of specific actors are; e.g.:
a) the role of spatial planning/ the spatial planner and to what an extent it can or needs to be rethought
b) the role of the state/ the government/ political and institutional frameworks
c) the role of informal/ bottom-up/ grass-root developments and interventions