Pathways to Demographic Adaptation

Perspectives on Policy and Planning in Depopulating Areas in Northern Europe

  • Josefina Syssner

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Geography book series (BRIEFSGEOGRAPHY)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Josefina Syssner
    Pages 1-9
  3. Josefina Syssner
    Pages 11-22
  4. Josefina Syssner
    Pages 23-35
  5. Josefina Syssner
    Pages 37-52
  6. Josefina Syssner
    Pages 53-68
  7. Josefina Syssner
    Pages 69-86
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 87-93

About this book


This book builds on case studies in depopulating and shrinking areas in Northern Europe. While most contemporary literature on shrinkage focuses on these issues from a planning standpoint, this book uniquely applies a policy perspective when approaching the material. The book assesses the potential of demographic adaptation policies to manage depopulation, that is, policy programs aiming at managing depopulation through adaptation, rather than through growth policies intended to foster population growth. In 6 chapters, the book acts as an up-to-date resource on demographic adaptation for master and Ph.D. students, researchers, and practitioners working in local and regional development, governance, and planning. 

Chapter 1 gives an overview of recent demographic trends in Northern Europe and introduces the theoretical differences between growth policy and adaptation policy. Chapter 2 accounts for the policy concept and introduces a framework for how local adaptation policies could be systematically analysed. Chapter 3 suggests that the Nordic welfare states exhibit two characteristics that prove to be relevant when discussing the consequences and policy implications of demographic decline, i.e. an extremely sparse population structure and an ambitious welfare assignment that in many respects has been devolved to the local level of government. Chapter 4 suggests that whether shrinkage constitutes a problem or not depends upon the interpretations of those in power, but also upon political, economic and geographic conditions Chapter 5 seeks to understand why local level policymakers avoid developing strategies for how to handle long-term population decline. Chapter 6 summarizes the points of the previous chapters, and concludes that local governments in shrinking areas ought to develop local adaptation policies. These policies, however, also need to be subjected to critical analysis, and the chapter introduces a model for how local adaptation policy priorities could be assessed in a more structured manner. 


Depopulation Demographic adaptation policy Urbanization Population of northern Europe Growth policy Collaborative planning Governance Policy analysis

Authors and affiliations

  • Josefina Syssner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Culture and SocietyLinköping UniversityNorrkopingSweden

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