Urban shrinkage and housing in a post-socialist city: relationship between the demographic evolution and housing development in Łódź, Poland

Abstract : For several decades, urban shrinkage has been a common pathway of demographic development for many large cities throughout Europe. Although this process began after the collapse of communism in most countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), it should not be interpreted merely as a consequence of systemic transformation. This process was accompanied by the rapid withdrawal of state involvement in the housing sector, which resulted in an escalation of the housing shortage inherited from the socialist period. Thus, the aim of this article is to present a perspective of shrinking in CEE, which is often mar-ginalized in the global discourse on shrinkage. The main purpose is to investigate the relationship between housing and demographic changes after the collapse of communism and answer the following question: Is the old housing structure a positive legacy, a patrimo-nial inheritance, or a burden in the context of demographic decline? Methodologically, this paper is a case study illustrating the transformations of housing within the context of the historical and spatial demographic development in the selected city. We focus our attention on the example of Łódź, Poland, which reflects the entire CEE spectrum of problems associated with shrinkage while presenting some particularities. However, the shrinkage phenomenon in Łódź also presents an opportunity for improving future housing options. Within a wider context, this example can be considered a lens for the very complex demographic and housing situation of CEE cities. This case shows that legacies of the communist regime influence the relationship between the demographic decline and housing situation and that even a city with a high range in the urban network can be affected by a severe decline.
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Ewa Szafrańska, Lydia Coudroy de Lille, Jarosław Kazimierczak. Urban shrinkage and housing in a post-socialist city: relationship between the demographic evolution and housing development in Łódź, Poland. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, Springer Verlag, 2018, ⟨10.1007/s10901-018-9633-2⟩. ⟨halshs-01881990⟩

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