Economic downturn and urban landscape. Investigating urban shrinkage in a middle-sized Greek city: Larissa
Economic recession and crisis have been significant constraining parameters for sustainable development of cities and regions in eastern and southern parts of Europe during the last two decades. In the case of Greek cities in particular, the ongoing economic crisis has resulted in urban shrinkage: In inner city areas and yet the city centre, there is a large number of vacant commercial shops and offices in former lively commercial streets. As a consequence of the shrinking economic activities, out-migration flaws have appeared. Population decreases in the city centres or live under stressful processes of the new changes.
This paper investigates the driving forces and the negative impacts of urban shrinkage in Greece and especially in Larissa - a middle-sized typical Greek city. It describes the changing urban landscapes in Larissa in terms of closing enterprises and the emerging vacant spaces, using data provided by the Ministry of Finance during the period 2008-2014. The phenomenon of shrinkage can vary from city to city, from area to area, according to the context in which it occurs. Investigating different types and aspects of shrinkage and their effects is a critical concern in urban planning. Such investigation can provide guidelines for urban regeneration of the shrinking areas/and cities.