Next Article in Journal
Price, Virtues, Principles: How to Discern What Inspires Best Practices in Water Management? A Case Study about Small Farmers in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico
Next Article in Special Issue
The Public Value of Urban Vacant Land: Social Responses and Ecological Value
Previous Article in Journal
Urban Freight Transport Planning towards Green Goals: Synthetic Environmental Evidence from Tested Results
Previous Article in Special Issue
Factors Contributing to Residential Vacancy and Some Approaches to Management in Gyeonggi Province, Korea
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 382; doi:10.3390/su8040382

Searching for Social Sustainability: The Case of the Shrinking City of Heerlen, The Netherlands

1
NEIMED Centre of Expertise on Demographic Changes, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Brusselseweg 150, 6217HB Maastricht, The Netherlands
2
Institute for Management Research, Radboud University, Comeniuslaan 4, 6525 HP Nijmegen, The Netherlands
3
Department of Public Administration, University of Twente, Drienerlolaan 5, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Audrey L. Mayer, William D. Shuster, Ahjond S. Garmestani and Marc A. Rosen
Received: 28 December 2015 / Revised: 19 March 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustaining the Shrinking City: Concepts, Dynamics and Management)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [819 KB, uploaded 19 April 2016]   |  

Abstract

Shrinkage is a relevant phenomenon for many cities and this trend is predicted to continue in the future. Although urban shrinkage is well recognized in academic discourse, little research has been undertaken on its social aspects. This paper explores the concept of social capital in the context of urban shrinkage and elaborates on how it contributes to social sustainability in shrinking cities. After defining the concepts, we identify resources, empowerment, and participation as key indicators of social capital in the context of urban shrinkage. The paper analyzes these indicators in the shrinking, old industrial city of Heerlen, the Netherlands, based on 24 in-depth interviews with citizens, policy-makers, and entrepreneurs, as well as secondary data. The findings reveal the prominence of three interrelated issues: the importance of local culture, subjective experiences of shrinkage, and a lack of trust between citizens and politicians. We conclude that social capital can facilitate social sustainability in the context of urban shrinkage. However, trust and empowerment are not guaranteed in a shrinking context. In shrinking cities more investments should be made to foster cooperation between civil society and politics and the development of mutual trust. View Full-Text
Keywords: shrinking cities; social capital; social sustainability shrinking cities; social capital; social sustainability
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Ročak, M.; Hospers, G.-J.; Reverda, N. Searching for Social Sustainability: The Case of the Shrinking City of Heerlen, The Netherlands. Sustainability 2016, 8, 382.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top