The project makes use of an embedded case study approach. This will facilitate in-depth investigations of the stakeholders involved in shrinking cities - their motivations, actions, and the limits they are confronted with. Four case studies will be selected. The selection of case studies comprises two cities in Germany and two in the US.
One of the cities studied in Germany represents the situation in East Germany with its background of post-socialist transformation while the other one represents a city in West Germany undergoing structural change and economic decline. In Germany both cities display an array of strategies, such as redevelopment, greening, and promoting substitute industries, which qualify them as cases for investigating shrinking cities and planning cultures.
In the United States the example of Flint is investigated as a one company town who's faith is dependent not only on one branch but one specific company, in this case General Motors. The second example is Youngstown wich showed also a monostructured economy in the past and is struggeling to diversify. Both cities demonstrate wide-ranging strategic approaches regarding shrinkage processes, and thus can be considered appropriate testing grounds for changing planning cultures.