Attributes of the Positive Side of Urban Shrinkage: Evidence from Seoul

Hyung Rae Cho, Saehoon Kim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


While most studies on shrinking urban areas have focused on the negative consequences of urban change, scholarly interest in reinventing urban shrinkage continues to grow. Nevertheless, research on the possible benefits of urban shrinkage remains insufficient. Thus, this study used a cross-case analysis to investigate the positive attributes of shrinkage as well as their utilization processes and associated benefits in three shrinking districts in Seoul. The results indicate that the following opportune circumstances could arise: collective actions prompted by people feeling despair after shrinkage; the initiation and spread of small-scale projects that replace a grand plan; the availability of less competitive land and built property for transformative uses; and the rediscovery of local industrial values and know-how. These attributes influence the growth of social capital and civic engagement in local planning and the revitalization of stagnant local economies. The findings suggest that even if an urban district declines, opportunities for reinvention may occur if stakeholders effectively capitalize on the favorable features of urban shrinkage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number05023008
JournalJournal of Urban Planning and Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Shrinking cities
  • Sustainable development
  • Urban decline
  • Urban regeneration
  • Urban shrinkage


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