Special Report

Special Report (Vol. 53)

  • 2020-11-05
  • GDPC

Special Report Vol. 53 (2020)

Strategies to prevent the abolishment of social services in shrinking urban neighborhoods

Chapter I. Introduction

Chapter II. The concept of shrinking urban neighborhood and selection method

1. The concept of shrinking urban neighborhood
2. Method of selecting shrinking urban neighborhoods

Chapter III. Analysis of the conditions of shrinking urban neighborhoods

1. Distribution of shrinking urban neighborhoods by type
2. Analysis of the accessibility to social services
3. Summary of the findings

Chapter IV. Measures to improve related policies

1. Policy status and limitations
2. Policy improvement measures

Chapter V. Conclusion and future tasks


In recent years, as the population continues to decrease in small and medium-sized cities, the disappearance of communities has become an important issue not only in rural areas but also in cities. In the future, shrinking urban neighborhoods are expected to increase further due to population decline and lack of demand for development. Nevertheless, little research has been carried out to understand the realities of these areas. Therefore, this study aims to grasp the current status of shrinking urban neighborhoods in the republic of Korea and derive strategies to maintain and secure social services in these areas.

The findings of this study are as follows. First, shrinking urban neighborhoods were found to have poorer access to social services than other urban neighborhoods. Second, the closer the neighborhoods are to breaking point, access to social services was seen to gradually deteriorate, while the margin of increase in the travel distance to social services decreased. Third, the neighborhoods with higher probability of disappearance were found to have more difficulty in using private social services such as pharmacies, convenience stores, and supermarkets, and this tendency was more pronounced in “eup ” and “myeon ” than in “dong ”.

Based on these findings, this study proposes a new business model as follows. First, viable neighborhoods with some development potential should pursue strategies to centralize social services and strengthen linkages with other neighborhoods. Second, submarginal neighborhoods, where social services are difficult to be maintained, should implement strategies to guarantee the minimal quality of life so that residents can live for a lifetime without leaving their region. Third, marginal neighborhoods, where social services cannot be maintained, should focus on stabilizing the area and promote strategies to encourage residents to migrate to other neighborhoods if they wish.

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