The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning

Small towns: chances, dynamics, potentials

(original title: Kleinstädte – Chancen, Dynamiken, Potenziale)

IzR 6/2018
Hrsg.: BBSR

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Lars Porsche
Antonia Milbert

Small towns in Germany
An overview

After two decades, small towns are playing a role again especially in the (political) discussions – particularly where housing markets in prospering large cities and swarm cities are concerned on the one hand and equivalent living conditions and community on the other. However, there is a lack of objective observations and statements, of systematic research and of a neutral, evidence-based policy advice that is based on this. But exactly this is necessary in order to prevent myths and narratives on small towns as well as wrong conclusions and developments.

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Stephan Beetz

Urbanity in small towns- a question of perspective

It is not without a certain provocation to write about urbanity with regard to small towns. How sensible this is depends on what is understood by urbanity.

Herbert Popp

Territorial reforms are turning the countryside into the city
Municipal areas with an urban title

Heike Mayer,
Rahel Meili

Economic development of small towns

Small and medium-sized cities have developed very positively economically in Europe since the turn of the millennium. The article considers the international economic geographical research, which is increasingly devoted to this type of city. Not only the size of the cities and hence the advantages of agglomeration are decisive, but other factors such as networking, innovation and local strategies.

Lukas Vonnahme,
Martin Graffenberger,
Franziska Görmar,
Thilo Lang

Hardly recognised, strong together
Hidden potentials of hidden champions

Even allegedly disadvantaged cities can be locations for very competitive and innovative enterprises. These firms, which are known as "hidden champions", often provide essential impulses for local economic and social development.
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Hans-Hermann Albers,
Lech Suwala

Entrepreneurial engagement as a location factor
Creating attractive (small) towns with enterprises

Enterprises are increasingly taking over social responsibility and discover that their engagement is important especially for small towns. Successful enterprises require attractive and liveable locations. If this is to succeed, municipalities and enterprises must learn to "create the city together" and to cooperate in a better way.

An interview with Tine Fuchs

Involving enterprises in urban development from the start

In an interview with the editors of IzR, Tine Fuchs is speaking about enterprises in small towns and the role of the German Conference of the Chambers of Industry and Commerce.

An interview with Tanja Rönck,
Wolfgang Schumacher and Stephan Kathke

The spirit of Malente
Do large urban development processes succeed in small towns?

Mayoress Tanja Rönck, the former manager of the internationally active Kendrion Kuhnke limited liability company Wolfgang Schumacher and the town planner and developer Stephan Kathke of the EPB Germany limited liability company discuss this with the editors of IzR.

Annett Steinführer,
Katrin Großmann,
Kerstin Schenkel

Housing in small towns
Plea for a socio-spatial perspective

The small town as a housing location is a popular theme of local marketing strategies. However, from the perspective of social science there is little secure knowledge about housing as a social practice as well as about socio-spatial differences between urban quarters and urban districts in the context of small towns. The article indicates deficits in knowledge and concrete needs for research.

An interview with Kerstin Schöniger

Rodewisch on the way towards 2030

Rodewisch has considered its future in a broadly based process of citizen participation - the outcome is typical for small towns and still individual. "Housing town in a green area" is the path which Rodewisch is taking. Modern housing space, a higher share of homeowners, the subsequent use of disused allotment gardens and a better quality of the environment in public space are important cornerstones. The administration has recognised that urban development is a theme of all citizens.

Peter Dehne

Cooperative development of small towns
An approach

If one considers the future of the small town, much speaks in favour of the way of a cooperative small town development. Loitz in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and eight other small towns show how this could be done.

Olivia Kummel,
Robert Nadler

The limits of voluntary work

Population development in Germany is determined by very heterogeneous patterns on a small scale at present. Especially under conditions of continuous shrinkage a massive destruction of offers of services of general interest is taking place in rural small towns. Politicians and public administration request and hope that citizens provide lost offers of services of general interest through the engagement in civil society. On the basis of qualitative interviews with citizens in a shrinking small town the article considers where the limits of this strategy are found.

Anita Maaß

(Activating) town planning and governance

How can a "need-oriented" town planning be guided in the structure and in the surrounding area of a small town? And which actors contribute to urban development with which instruments? The aim is to find scientifically based practical support building on such a practical approach.

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