Développement économique et création locale d’emplois (LEED)

Conference: Shrinkage in Europe: causes, effects and policy strategies (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)


16 February, 13:00 - 17 February 2011, 18:00 hrs.

Roeterseiland, Amsterdam, the Netherlands



OECD LEED Programme

Jointly organised by



University of Amsterdam and the Cost Action 'Cities Regrowing Smaller'



In both the academic world and political debates, shrinkage has become an important issue of debates. The severity of shrinkage and the time span in which shrinkage is occurring differ across regions within the same country. Many scholars stress the complexity and multi-dimensional nature of shrinkage. Labour markets are profoundly transformed. Addressing the employment and skills issues arising from shrinkage is becoming a policy priority in many countries.

While there is no consensus on their relative impacts, the causes of shrinkage have been well identified by academic research: an ageing population, decreasing fertility levels, increasing ethnic diversity. At the same time, major economic restructuring and de-industrialisation fuels migration flows to more prosperous regions. The consequences of shrinkage include expanding housing vacancies, social segregation, problems with maintaining the infrastructure and facilities and diminishing tax revenues for municipalities.

Disparities between areas of the same country remain puzzling. Shrinkage also has different impacts in different areas. If these differences can be explained, strategic planning and policies for demographic change can be better targeted.



The aim of this conference was to present and discuss local experiences, research and policy strategies in addressing demographic change. We looked forward to the participation of national and local policy makers, city planning officials, researchers, practitioners and experts from international organisations, foundations and non-government organisations.



The conference was structured around a mix of keynote presentations and interactive workshops. Four workshops were organised around the following themes:


The causes of shrinkage


The effects of shrinkage


Policies and strategies for dealing with shrinkage

Wednesday 16 Feb, 15.30-17.30 and Thursday 17 Feb, 9.00-12.00


Experiences and Practices

The 3rd workshop on "Policies and strategies for dealing with shrinkage" was organised by the OECD LEED programme as part of the Demographic Change Project. The workshop aimed to discuss the complexity of elements impacting policy development for national and local governments and other actors in dealing with demographic change, particularly the impact on shrinking labour markets. The papers presented in this workshop discussed about policies and programs to foster skills and employment development and job creation in areas of shrinkage. The workshop was planned as an interactive space with formal contributions, interventions from the audience and a discussion panel.

    Download the agenda of this workshop


For more information about workshop 3:
Dr. Cristina Martinez-Fernandez
Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)
Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development, LEED Programme
2 rue André-Pascal, 75775 Paris CEDEX 16, France


For all other information:
Dr. Marco Bontje
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies
Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130, 1018 VZ Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Tel: (+31) 205255240


For further information about the conference:

Please visit the official conference website and download the other workshops presentations.