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Project information

Project team

Karin Wiest, Kornelia Ehrlich, Matthias Schaarwächter


Thuringian Ministry for Building, Regional Development and Infrastructure (leadpartner)

9 project partners from Hungary (VÁTI Company for Regional Development and Town Planning, Észak-alföld Regional Development Agency), Poland (University of Economics Katowice, Malopolska Region), Czech Republic (Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Usti Region), Italy (UNCEM – National Union of Mountain Municipalities, Piemont).

5 associated partners from Germany (Federal Ministry of the Interior Saxony, Federal Ministry of Economy, Infrastructure, Traffic and Technology Bavaria), Slovakia (Centre for Tourism Development Presov High Tatra), Austria (Regionalmanagement Upper Austria), Slovenia (Government Office of Local-Self-Government), Slovenia (Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Maribor).

Duration of project


Funded by

European Regional Development Fund – ERDF (Central Europe Programme)

Further information

Kornelia Ehrlich

Matthias Schaarwächter
Tel.: +49 341 600 55-169

Karin Wiest
Tel.: +49 89 552 659 74


New innovative solutions to adapt governance and management of public infrastructure and services to demographic change

Shrinking regions and cities are becoming a more and more relevant issue in Central and Eastern Europe. Especially former border regions at the Iron curtain are particularly affected by demographic and social change. The consequences of demographic change and increasing scarcity of public resources thus require a fundamental review and adjustment of the management and standards of public services and infrastructure in shrinking regions and cities.

With the project Adapt2DC a sufficient framework has been developed for such regions so that they are able to share experiences and information and to adapt to the relevant changes or counterface processes in order to be more competitive, more productive and more innovative. The overall goal of ADAPT2DC was to develop and implement innovative governance models for the provision of shrinking regions and cities with public infrastructure and services. Also the mitigation of the financial burden of public budgets by over dimensioned infrastructure was a relevant issue.

Small and medium-sized towns and cities as engines of regional development had been enabled to implement a broad range of regional balanced services and infrastructural opportunities to hold and attract inhabitants, entrepreneurs and investors and serve as anchor points for regional development through regional and cross border networking and generating additional long term perspectives for the population.

The specific objectives were:

  • the development of transnational strategies in the field of public infrastructure and services which will reduce the maintenance and provision cost in regions and cities under shrinking population conditions
  • the creation of deepened awareness and understanding of the impacts of shrinkage
  • to develop cost effective options and political recommendations for the management of infrastructure and services in shrinking cities and regions
  • Initiation of pilot projects to frame and adapt to shrinking processes (a.o. in the area of childcare, health care)
  • Transferring knowledge at European level and initiate a long-term intensive and continuous dialogue between actors of regional development

The IfL focused in this project on the scientific analysis of the demographic change in the participating countries and its consequences for the development of regions and cities. As a result the IfL, together with other project partners, produced a socio-economic background report, including background statistical analysis of shrinking regions in CE, analysis of policy documents and case studies of pilot regions. IfL furthermore participated in the comparative analysis of pilot actions and in the development of a study book on coping with demographic change. 


2012 - Adapt2DC – Entwicklung von Anpassungsstrategien im Bereich öffentlicher Infrastrukturen und Services an den demographischen Wandel. Ein Werkstattbericht (6.-7.7.2012 Multiple Transformationen in ländlichen Räumen. Determinanten, Akteure, Folgen, organisiert vom Arbeitskreis Ländlicher Raum in der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geographie (DGfG) & Institut für Ländliche Räume des Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Instituts, Braunschweig)

2013 - Adapting public infrastructures and services to demographic change in (East) Germany - Results from the EU-project ADAPT2DC (11.-14.06.2013 5th Nordic Geographers Meeting, Universität Reykjavik, Island)

2013 - Adapting public infrastructures and services to demographic change in  (Eastern) Germany - the role of policies and “good-practices” (19.-21.06.2013 IAMO Forum, Leibniz-Institut für Agrarentwicklung in Mittel- und Osteuropa, Halle/Saale)