Leaner and greener cities

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Stephen Platt
[email protected]
tel: 01223 460475


Regeneration of Weavers Triangle, Burnley, East Lancashire

Although urban shrinkage presents severe challenges to local authorities, there are also opportunities, in particular, a reduction in urban density can give new possibilities for greening the city and embracing new energy sources: ‘shrinking smart’.

Local authorities need to carry out a periodic review of land allocation strategy to ensure that they meet the development needs of their areas, with sufficient flexibility to adapt to change. Moreover, they are charged with considering population changes in the provision of housing. To do this, a planning authority needs a clear grasp of demographic trends and how they relate to economic and social parameters, and the ongoing push towards a low-carbon economy.

Decline in urban population can be caused by many factors, often acting in combination:

  • Depletion of natural resources
  • Economic change, leading to loss of competitiveness
  • Outmigration
  • Ageing population and low birth rates
  • Shift of population within an urban area, for example suburbanisation

CAR offers a range of services to help local authorities deal with these issues including mentoring senior planners, horizon scanning events for officers and councillors and master classes for staff.

Key issues
Trajectories of change –dynamics of shrinkage, silver society, filigree city

Strategies for addressing population loss – seeking new sources of growth, mitigating the adverse effects of change, embracing new opportunities

Moving towards greater urban sustainability – growing green, cycling clever, shrinking smart

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