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.