Volker Eichener Why Do Cities Decline and How Could This Trend Be Countered?

Volker Eichener has been Professor of Political Science at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf since 1999. Between 2008 and 2015 he was, moreover, President of the EZB Business School – University of Applied Sciences Bochum. He is an expert in questions of urban development, real estate and housing with a focus on social questions. He has advised the European Commission on issues of social housing, employment and poverty, and the United Nations Commission Nairobi, Kenya, on human settlements.

Area of Research

Political Science, Social Policy

Volker Eichener. "Wohnungswirtschaftliche Megatrends – Entwicklung und Herausforderungen an die Zukunft einer Branche." ZIWP Zeitschrift für Immobilienwissenschaft und Immobilienpraxis 2, 1 (2014).  
Volker Eichener. Das Entscheidungssystem der Europäischen Union. Institutionelle Analyse und demokratietheoretische Bewertung. Opladen: Leske + Budrich, 2000.  
Volker Eichener. "Problems and Prospects of Housing Reform in Eastern Europe and Russia." In Housing Policy of Local Authorities, edited by Russian Academy of Sciences. Sankt Petersburg: Nauka, 1998: 242.248.  
Volker Eichener. "Effective European Problem-Solving: Lessons from the Regulation of Occupational Safety and Environmental Protection." Journal of European Public Policy 4, 4 (1997): 591-608.  
Volker Eichener. Ausländer im Wohnbereich. Theoretische Modelle, empirische Analysen und politisch-praktische Maßnahmenvorschläge zur Eingliederung einer gesellschaftlichen Außenseitergruppe. Regensburg: Transfer Verlag, 1988.  

since 1999

Full Professor

University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf (Hochschule Düsseldorf)

Faculty of Social Sciences and Cultural Sciences



EBZ Business School


Managing Director

Ruhr University Bochum (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

InWIS Institute for Housing, Real Estate, Urban and Regional Development



Ruhr University Bochum (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)



Ruhr University Bochum (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)



Ruhr University Bochum (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)



Ruhr University Bochum (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)


- Applied Social Sciences, Schader Foundation (1993)

- Municipal Sciences Prize, Foundation of Municipal Peak Organizations in Germany (1989)


- Visiting Scientist, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies

Why do some cities grow and are prosperous whereas others shrink and decline? VOLKER EICHENER investigates the key factors that determine the development of a city and also suggests a strategy for declining cities to reverse this trend. As he explains in this video, he examined population growth or decline in a given city as well as economic variables, such as industry, age, or social structure and used these data for building a multiple regression model. What he found is rather surprising: a city is either declining or growing but it does not find a balance – in contrast to the prediction of conventional economic theory. Cities are thus bound by a spiral dynamics and declining cities suffer from what Eichener calls ‘shrinking syndrome’. To counter this, he suggests a strategy of ‘active internationalization’ that uses the opportunities globalization offers, such as attracting innovative businesses, international talent and tourism.

LT Video Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.21036/LTPUB10516

Die Stadt zwischen Wachstum und Schrumpfung. Aktive Internationalisierung als Ausweg aus der Abwärtsspirale

  • Volker Eichener
  • Fortsetzung folgt. Kontinuität und Wandel von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft
  • Published in 2017
Volker Eichener. "Die Stadt zwischen Wachstum und Schrumpfung. Aktive Internationalisierung als Ausweg aus der Abwärtsspirale." In Fortsetzung folgt. Kontinuität und Wandel von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, edited by Fabian Hoose, Fabian Beckmann and Anna-Lena Schönauer. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2017: 201-229.