Roosevelt House is pleased to present a lecture and facilitated discussion with urban policy expert Alan Mallach on his new book Smaller Cities in a Shrinking World: Learning to Thrive Without Growth.

Over the past hundred years, the global mantra on growth has been “more, more, more” – growth of population, of the built environment, of human and financial capital, and of all manner of worldly goods. This was the reality as the world population boomed during the 1960s and 1970s. But reality is changing in front of our eyes. Growth is already slowing down, and according to the most sophisticated demographers, and the earth’s population will begin to decline, not hundreds of years from now, but within the lifetimes of many of the people now living on the planet.

In Smaller Cities in a Shrinking World, Mallach seeks to understand how declining population and economic growth, coupled with the other forces that will influence their fates, particularly climate change, will affect the world’s cities over the coming decades. What will it mean to have a world full of shrinking cities? Does it mean that they are doomed to decline in more ways than simply population numbers, or can we uncouple population decline from economic decay, abandoned buildings, and poverty?

Mallach has spent much of the last thirty or more years working in, looking at, thinking, and writing about shrinking cities—from Trenton, NJ, where he was director of housing and economic development, to other American cities like Detroit, Flint, and St. Louis, and from there to cities in Japan and Central and Eastern Europe. He has woven together his experience, research, and analysis in this fascinating, realistic, yet hopeful look at how smaller, shrinking cities can thrive, despite the daunting challenges they face.

Following the lecture, Mallach will be in conversation with the Roosevelt House Public Policy Program Doctoral Lecturer, Elizabeth Marcello.

Alan Mallach is a senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress in Washington, DC. He is the author of many works on housing, planning, and cities, including Bringing Buildings Back and The Divided City: Poverty and Prosperity in Urban America. He has served as director of housing and economic development for Trenton, N.J. as a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, and as a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Elizabeth Marcello is a doctoral lecturer at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College. Her research concerns public authorities, especially their role in city-state relations and urban economic development. She has a PhD in urban planning from Columbia University.

Alan Mallach — Smaller Cities in a Shrinking World: Learning to Thrive Without Growth | Posted on March 26th, 2024 | Book Discussions, Public Policy Program Events