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Planning for shrinkage? [¿Planes para la contracción?]: Policy implications of demographic decline in Swedish municipalities [Implicaciones políticas del declive demográfico en los municipios suecos]
Linköping University, Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture, Centre for Municipality Studies – CKS. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7607-7029
2015 (English)In: Journal of Depopulation and Rural Development Studies, ISSN 1578-7168, E-ISSN 2340-4655, Vol. 20, no 1, p. 7-31Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this article is to understand local government response to demographic decline. The article is based on documentary sources from five municipalities in Östergötland County, Sweden, and illustrates how local governments understand demographic change as an important prerequisite for policy and planning. It also shows that although demographic decline is conceptualized as being driven by external factors, demographic growth does stand out as an important policy goal for these local governments. The article also demonstrates that demographic decline has led to several political decisions in terms of budget cuts and new priorities. Yet these decisions do not belong to an overall strategy. Instead, they stand out as fragmented attempts to solve multidimensional problems. It is clear that local governments are not succeeding in working out explicit strategies for dealing with shrinkage. Two major implications of this shortcoming are identified: lack of transparency and lack of understanding of best practice. As a consequence, the author thus calls for the development of local adaptation policies in shrinking municipalities in Sweden.

Abstract [es]

El objetivo de este artículo es comprender la respuesta de los gobiernos locales al declive demográfico. El artículo se basa en fuentes documentales de cinco municipios del condado de Östergötland (Suecia), e ilustra el modo en que los gobiernos locales entienden el cambio demográfico como un prerrequisito importante para la elaboración de políticas y planes. También muestra que, aunque el declive demográfico es conceptualizado como consecuencia de factores externos, el crecimiento demográfico se presenta como un importante objetivo político para estos gobiernos locales. El artículo también muestra que el declive demográfico ha llevado a varias decisiones políticas en términos de recortes presupuestarios y nuevas prioridades. Sin embargo, estas decisiones no forman parte de una estrategia integral. Más bien aparecen como intentos fragmentados de resolver problemas multidimensionales. Está claro que los gobiernos locales no están teniendo éxito a la hora de diseñar estrategias explícitas para gestionar la contracción. Se identifican dos importantes implicaciones de esta insuficiencia: falta de transparencia y falta de comprensión de la mejor práctica. En consecuencia, la autora llama al desarrollo de políticas de adaptación local en los municipios en contracción en Suecia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Prensas Universitarias Universidad de Zaragoza, 2015. Vol. 20, no 1, p. 7-31
Keywords [en]
shrinkage, policy, local government, Sweden, adaptation policy
Keywords [es]
contracción, política, gobierno local, Suecia, política de adaptación
National Category
Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-152746DOI: 10.4422/ager.2015.14ISI: 000382173400001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84962673970OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-152746DiVA, id: diva2:1264271
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2014-708Available from: 2018-11-19 Created: 2018-11-19 Last updated: 2018-11-28Bibliographically approved

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Syssner, Josefina

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