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Project information

Project team

Nadir Kinossian


Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience, Virginia Tech, USA; Hollins University, Roanoke, Virginia, USA; Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, Russia; Leontief Centre, St. Petersburg, Russia

Duration of project

01/2018 – 01/2019

Funded by

German Research Foundation

Further information

Dr Nadir Kinossian
Tel. +49 341 600 55-191

Cities after decline: small city revival in the USA and Russia

Initiation of International Collaboration

The project was carried out in 2018. The aim of the project was to promote international collaboration between scholar and practitioners interested in urban revival to facilitate the preparation of a joint research project. The project had the following objectives:

  • To establish a research network of scholars based in Germany, Russia, and the USA who have outstanding experience in the fields of urban studies, urban planning, and human geography.
  • To organise two exploratory workshops (in the USA and Russia) to discuss theoretical and empirical aspects of urban revival, methodological approaches to it, and possible case-studies.
  • To conduct study trips abroad to pre-selected cities – potential case studies – to establish contacts within local administrations, universities, think tanks, and other organisations and actors involved in urban revival.

In addition to establishing a research network Cities after Decline (IfL, Germany, VirginiaTech, USA; the Higher School of Economics, Russia), two workshops were organised in: 1) Roanoke/Blacksburg, USA, and 2) Leipzig/Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany. Discussions during the workshops allowed the members of the network to critically reflect on the initial project ideas. The benefits of cross-national comparison have also been discussed and proposals were made to make a comparison of three countries: Germany, Russia, and the USA.

These activities will lead to the actual research project guided by the following question: Why do some old industrial cities experience revival, while others continue to decline despite seemingly similar structural conditions? This main question will be accompanied by the following sub-questions:

  • What economic sectors and processes are the ‘driving forces’ of urban revival?
  • What role do central government policies and intergovernmental coordination play in urban revival?
  • Which local policies and organisational cultures contribute to urban revival?

The project would be based at IfL in Leipzig and would be conducted during the period of 36 months (2022-2025) in collaboration with external partners – members of the research network.


15–16 February 2018: Workshop 1 in Roanoke / Blacksburg, Virginia (USA). Event flyer

24–26 September 2018: Workshop 2, Leipzig / Bitterfeld-Wolfen. Event flyer


Gunko, Maria / Kinossian, Nadir / Pivovar, Galina / Averkieva, Kseniya / Batunova, Elena (2021): Exploring agency of change in small industrial towns through urban renewal initiatives. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, DOI: 10.1080/04353684.2020.1868947