Milica Ljubenović, Ivana Bogdanović Protić, Ljiljana Vasilevska, Jelena Živković

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The process of urban shrinkage is affecting many cities around the world. It is evident in small towns as well, but unlike larger cities, it has not received much attention. Accordingly, this paper analyses small towns’ shrinking focusing on post-socialist context of development, which led to new patterns of urban shrinkage in countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). After discussing the specific characteristics of the shrinkage of small towns, their paths of development in different CEE countries are analyzed, in order to highlight the characteristics of urban shrinkage and the influence of post-socialist transition on this process. Thereafter, the shrinkage of small towns in Serbia is analyzed in order to determine whether the identified characteristics are recognized in them and to single out the specifics of that process in relation to other post-socialist countries. Based on the general characteristics of the development and shrinkage of small towns in the CEE countries, it can be concluded that shrinking small towns are not equally represented in all countries, and there are certain differences in terms of dynamics and intensity of shrinkage. The results of the analysis indicate that the previous path of development had a strong influence on their shrinkage after the post-socialist transformation. Three general trajectories of socialist development have been singled out, which influenced different patterns of urban shrinkage. In Serbia, it has also been observed that the shrinkage of small towns is directly related to the unfavourable direction of the urbanization process during socialist development.


urban shrinkage, small towns, post-socialist transition, Serbia

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