Report: Shut down dying towns
A new report by the independent city-planning institution, Dansk Byplanlaboratorium, has recommended a clean-up of stagnating towns experiencing a decline in population, empty housing and disrepair.
The report, compiled for the Ministry of Housing, Urban and Rural Affairs, suggested that some towns have become so small that they should be completely removed, while uninhabited housing in others should be demolished.
“There are often many houses for sale, and these types of towns have an insecure future,” Ellen Højgaard Jensen, the head of Dansk Byplanlaboratorium, said in a press release. “If we ignore the situation, it will affect the quality of living in the towns.”
The report offers four future scenarios concerning the issue. One of them is to let the problem persist: let the towns depopulate and the unsellable houses decay. Another is to redevelop towns by buying the housing and tearing them down and rehousing the residents.
Fewer rural towns in future
Another proposal involves thinning out the towns by demolishing the houses along the roads, so just the 20 best located houses remain. The final option hinges on merging properties and having a landscape with more scattered housing.
Carsten Hansen (S), the minister for city, housing and rural affairs, said that the report helps generate a much-needed debate about the issues that many small rural towns in Denmark face.
“The Dansk Byplanlaboratorium project covers the challenges well and is a fine presentation of the necessary debate about what needs to be done,” Hansen told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “Many towns are running out of time and we can’t escape the fact that there will be fewer rural towns in the future, and that more houses will have to be demolished than currently is the case.”
Yesterday, Hansen said that he wanted to see five more Danish cities become metropolises, each with over 500,000 inhabitants, as an engine for economic growth.
The government has set aside 500 million kroner over the next two years to demolish houses and renew rural towns.
The seven councils that have participated and contributed information used in the report are Faaborg-Midtfyn, Hjørring, Lemvig, Lolland, Mariagerfjord, Morsø and Vordingborg.