Suburbanisation and Suburbanisms – Making Sense of Continental European Developments

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Abstract

This paper provides a brief overview of recent developments and debates concerned with suburbanisation in continental Europe. While current discourses in urban research and practice still focus on processes of reurbanisation and the gentrification of inner-city areas, suburbia continues to exist and thrive. Depending on the definition applied, suburban areas still attract a large share of in-migration and employment growth in cities of the developed countries. Given that popular meta-narratives on suburbia and suburbanisation are often spurred by, or refer to, North American suburban studies, we take a different perspective here, one based on continental European trajectories of development in and across city-regional areas that are considered to be suburban, and on social processes that are associated with suburbanisation (suburbanisms). Thus, we aim to avoid a biased understanding of suburbia as a spatial category, which is often considered mono-functional, non-sustainable, or in generic decline. Instead, we observe that suburban variety is huge, and the distinction between urban core and fringe seems to be as ambiguous as ever. The paper, which also introduces the theme of this special issue of “Raumforschung und Raumordnung | Spatial Research and Planning”, bundles our findings along four themes: on suburbia as a place of economic development, on the shifting dynamics of housing between core and fringe locales, on the life-cyclic nature of suburbanisation, and on strategies for redevelopment. Finally, we discuss certain topics that may deserve to be addressed by future research, particularly on the European variant of suburbanisation and suburbs.

Keywords

Suburbanisation Suburbs City regions Europe 

Suburbanisierung und Suburbia im kontinentalen Europa – eine Standortbestimmung

Zusammenfassung

Dieser Beitrag gibt einen Überblick über aktuelle Entwicklungen und Diskurse zur Suburbanisierung im kontinentalen Europa. Gehen landläufige Wahrnehmungen in Planung und Forschung immer noch von einer allgemeinen Tendenz der Reurbanisierung aus, hält der Entwicklungsdruck auf suburbane Räume weiter an. Je nachdem, wie suburbane Räume jeweils definiert und abgegrenzt werden, haben sie weiterhin einen großen Anteil an der Bevölkerungsentwicklung, an Migration und Wirtschaftswachstum. Populäre Zuschreibungen über die Monofunktionalität, die Nicht-Nachhaltigkeit bzw. den Niedergang von Suburbia basieren vielfach auf Forschungen zu nordamerikanischen Stadtregionen. Unsere Perspektive richtet sich dagegen auf Entwicklungen in kontinentaleuropäischen Stadtregionen. Hier ist die Bandbreite suburbaner Entwicklungen relativ groß, die Unterscheidung von Peripherie und Kernstädten dagegen weniger eindeutig als zuvor. Unser Beitrag, der auch in den Themenschwerpunkt dieser Ausgabe von „Raumforschung und Raumordnung | Spatial Research and Planning“ einleitet, skizziert aktuelle Entwicklungen über den Stellenwert suburbaner Räume anhand von vier Beobachtungen: mit Blick auf ihre wirtschaftliche Bedeutung, zum Wohnen im Kern und am Rand, zum lebenszyklischen Wandel suburbaner Gebiete sowie zu Strategien ihrer Erneuerung. Vor dem Hintergrund dieser Beobachtungen werden abschließend aktuelle Herausforderungen für die künftige Forschung und Praxis benannt, speziell mit Blick auf europäische Verlaufsformen von Suburbanisierung und Suburbia.

Schlüsselwörter

Suburbanisierung suburbane Räume Stadtregionen Europa 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the Editors of Raumforschung und Raumordnung | Spatial Research and Planning for their interest in this special issue. We also thank the anonymous referees for their insightful comments on earlier versions of the papers. The usual disclaimers apply.

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Geography and Spatial PlanningUniversity of LuxembourgEsch-sur-AlzetteLuxembourg
  2. 2.ILS – Research Institute for Regional and Urban DevelopmentDortmundGermany

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