No. 1 (2023): WASTELANDS. Recycling urban spaces for the shrinking city

Handbook on Shrinking cities: Book review of: Pallagst K., Bontje M., Cunningham Sabot E., Fleschurz R. (eds), 2022, Handbook on Shrinking cities, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham

Federico Camerin
Universidad UVA de Valladolid - Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Francesco Gastaldi
Università Iuav di Venezia

Published 2023-09-12

How to Cite

Camerin, F., & Gastaldi, F. (2023). Handbook on Shrinking cities: Book review of: Pallagst K., Bontje M., Cunningham Sabot E., Fleschurz R. (eds), 2022, Handbook on Shrinking cities, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham. Contesti. Città, Territori, Progetti, (1), 203–212.


It is not our intention here to resuscitate ‘wasteland’ and ‘shrinking’ as epistemological categories but to underline a volume that goes beyond finding new uses for wasteland derived from shrinkage. The contribution chosen for review is one of the last and updated contributions about shrinkage and the management of wasteland which main goal has been the provision of examples based on multi- and trans-disciplinary research and practices for a more sustainable future for shrinking territories. The volume is, in turn, the result of the outcomes of the European-driven program “Reviving shrinking cities – innovative paths and perspectives toward livability for shrinking cities in Europe” and this element add relevance to the field as it is the collective effort of a wider training program for Ph.D. students that hopefully can develop even more their compelling findings.

The decision to make a reflection on this volume arises from the fact that this meaty 450-page manuscript was organized around research areas and case studies that suddenly had to confront an unexpected and destabilizing factor: the 2020 pandemic. The impact of Covid-19 on urban trajectories has been so significant that it has generated new dynamics worldwide, especially in shrinking realities. For this reason, the contents of “Handbook on Shrinking cities” can serve as a guide for investigating and rethinking ways to intervene in shrinking central, suburban, and rural areas.


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