Sociologický časopis
Czech sociological review


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Petr Rumpel:
Is Ostrava a Shrinking City? [859]

Rumpel, Petr. 2012. „Je Ostrava „smršťujícím se městem“?.“ Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review 48 (5): 859-878

Abstract: This article aims to contribute to the theoretical debate in the Czech Republic over the concept of shrinking cities and to draw attention to the potential of capturing the process of shrinkage by empirical means, taking the town of Ostrava as an example. The article sets out to explain the concept of shrinking cities, the causes, consequences, and context of shrinkage, and to put forth a theoretical framework with which to analyse shrinkage and to outline a proposed operationalisation of this concept. In its empirical section the article describes the characteristics of Ostrava, in particular population changes, and briefl y sums up the factors at the root of shrinkage in an effort to answer whether Ostrava is indeed shrinking. The theoretical part of the article is based on a review of the relevant literature. A combination of quantitative and qualitative research was carried out for the empirical part of the study, and as part of the quantitative research an analysis was made of relevant statistical data on the development of Ostrava. The causes and consequences
of shrinkage were identifi ed and the results verifi ed using qualitative
methods such as interviews and working seminars. Ostrava reached its peak population in 1990, when it had 331,729 inhabitants (as of 31 December 1989). Since 1990 there has been a slow but steady decrease of the population, which reached 303,798 in 2009 (as of 31 December, not including 10,669 foreigners). This trend of population decrease and the changes in the town’s socio-demographic structure have as yet had no fundamentally negative impact on the town’s development, but it can be justifi ably assumed that further losses and changes in the structure of the population will have ever more signifi cant negative impacts on the development of the town of Ostrava.

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