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Abstract: As a result of the “shrinking” societies in Germany and Japan, cities and regions are facing different challenges. While metropolitan areas like Berlin and Tokyo are growing quickly, intermediate cities like Leipzig and Kitakyushu can only keep their population or grow slowly. After a process of deindustrialisation, these cities still carry dozens of empty buildings and vacant spaces. There is a demand to struggle with such unoccupied spaces. But while the urban planning as the usual “top-down” method is limited, various grassroots movements by local activists create vivid urban life styles. A city with empty spaces has a lower economic pressure on its inhabitants and a climate for alternative modalities is created. It is intended to focus on the possibilities of our future life by learning from the study of Leipzig and Kitakyushu.
Keywords: Leipzig, Kitakyushu, De-industrialization, alternative modalities

This media entry was a contribution to the special session “Less is more (space) – changing regions in Japan and Germany” at the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig in 2014.