How U.S. Shrinking Cities Plan for Change: Comparing Population Projections and Planning Strategies in Depopulating U.S. Cities

Megan E. Heim LaFrombois, Yunmi Park, Daniel Yurcaba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research examines the mismatch between the reality of a city’s population loss and the planning strategies they have adopted. Thirty-five depopulating U.S. cities’ comprehensive plans are analyzed to determine whether they are acknowledging past depopulation trends, how they are projecting future population changes, and what planning strategies they are pursuing in light of their depopulation trends. Findings illustrate a majority of cities acknowledge depopulation; however, they rely on optimistic population projections for the future. Despite this, a mix of planning strategies, ranging from smart decline to pro-growth, are used regardless of a city’s acknowledgment/acceptance of population loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-93
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Planning Education and Research
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Nathaniel Harris Graham for his assistance with this research, and the editors of the Journal of Planning Education and Research and the anonymous reviewers for their feedback which has resulted in a much improved article. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Funding to support this research was provided by Auburn University Intramural Grants Program.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.

Keywords

  • depopulating cities
  • plan evaluation
  • planning for depopulation
  • shrinking cities
  • smart decline

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