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Study of Influencing Factors of Shrinking Cities Based On Factor Analysis – The Example of Halle, Germany

Authors: Fang Yao, Minglei Chen


City shrinkage is one of the thorny problems that many European cities have to face with nowadays. It is mainly expressed as the decrease of population in these cities. Eastern Germany is one of the pioneers of European shrinking cities with long shrinking history. The paper selects one representative shrinking city Halle (Saale) in eastern Germany as research objective, collecting and investigating nearly 20 years (1993-2010) municipal data after the reunification of Germany. These data based on five dimensions, which are demographic, economic, social, spatial and environmental and total 16 eligible variables. Factor Analysis is used to deal with these variables in order to assess the most important factors affecting shrinking Halle. The results show that there are three main factors determine the shrinkage of Halle, respectively named “demographical and economical factor”, “social stability factor”, and “city vitality factor”. The three factors act at different time period of Halle’s shrinkage: from 1993 to 1997 the demographical and economical factor played an important role; from 1997 to 2004 the social stability factor is significant to city shrinkage; since 2005 city vitality factor determines the shrinkage of Halle. In recent years, the shrinkage in Halle mitigates that shows the sign of growing population. Thus the city Halle should focus on attaching more importance on the city vitality factor to prevent the city from shrinkage. Meanwhile, the city should possess a positive perspective to shift the growth-oriented development to tap the potential of shrinking cities. This method is expected to apply to further research and other shrinking cities

Keywords: Demography, Factor Analysis, Halle, shrinking cities

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