Increasing numbers of urban settlements are losing out in the fight for investment and growth. In Europe and elsewhere, small towns in particular find themselves on the side-lines of production and consumption. Many are attractive places to live but population decline and loss of economic activity erodes their capacity to provide essential services. It can be difficult to escape this downward spiral of stagnation and decline.

Welcome to the RegrowTown website! It is a resource for municipal officers, civil society leaders, policy makers as well as students and scholars. The material is organised in three sections, each providing a brief overview of the topic and links to resources. Some resources offer specific guidance on tried and tested methods to improve the social, physical and economic conditions in towns struggling with long term decline. Other resources are the result of academic research.

You can learn from practitioners by joining the RegrowTown network. A group of European towns founded this network in 2021 to support settlements with up to 50,000 inhabitants. The aim is to exchange practices that can be undertaken with little or no additional resources. Raising the profile of small towns to improve access to governmental or European funding programmes is equally important. Joining is free and you can request a free ‘health check’ of your town.

Shrink Smart

To shrink smart is about taking control, reducing risks and liabilities while nurturing local assets and resources. Shrinking smart creates opportunities to re-grow a town’s social, physical and economic fabric.



Co-production is about the provision of services through regular, long term relationships between professional service providers and members of the community.



Rightsizing is about the spatial distribution of buildings, infrastructure and land. This requires substantial technical and financial support which is frequently out of reach for small towns.


Join the network for the small towns of Europe. Check out this page for more details.