ARL International Summer School 2018: Small and medium-sized cities: new deal, new ways of dialogue?

Call for Application for the International Summer School from 5 to 8 September in Lille (France)

Small and medium-sized cities have received only little systematic attention in academic discussions on spatial development. Over the past decade, discussions mainly focused on either metropolises and agglomerations, their economic growth, or on peripheral rural areas with economic decline, low population density and poor infrastructure. Therefore, the question about the role of small and medium-sized cities in spatial planning and development remains open.

Small and medium-sized cities have to cope with several challenges. On the one hand, economic or demographic decline, often due to a poor connection to other cities and regions threatens the SMC. That is why they are described as less dynamic in many cases – which carries the implication that those cities lack value and are therefore unimportant to urban policy debates. On the other hand, new academic debates demonstrate, that small and medium-sized cities play a more significant role than policymakers acknowledge. Depending on country and region, small and medium-sized cities can be explored both in processes of metropolisation, or as “anchor points” in rural areas – providing employment opportunities and infrastructure thereby supporting prosperity in both cases. This shows that researchers and regional practitioners deal with new relationships between small and medium-sized cities and their surroundings.

Consequently, research on small and medium-sized cities offers different approaches, focusing for example on regional governance concepts, hegemonic (distribution) processes, and relationships between different actors across various scales.

The German Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (ARL) realizes the International Summer School 2018 in cooperation with the University of Lille. Participants will discuss conceptual, methodological, and empirical contributions that explore small and medium-sized cities in an innovative perspective, focusing on the relations between surrounding cities and regions, their impact on urban and regional development and consequences of/for spatial planning and development strategies.


Your application should include a motivation letter (max. 1 page), a short CV, and a short description of the project that you are going to present focusing on your approach towards small and medium-sized cities (max. 1 page).
Please submit your application by 8 April 2018 to:

Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung
Insa Thimm
Hohenzollernstraße 11
30161 Hannover
or via e-mail to: thimm@arl-net.de

Email applications are particularly welcome. You will receive a notification of acceptance end of April 2018.

Further information