Post-suburbanization in Hamburgs backyard? Geographical and political factors as driving forces of growth and diversification of Hamburgs suburbs
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In the past decades some suburbs have transformed from sleeping towns into independent settlements with a diversified population and own employment- and recreation opportunities. This process of growth and diversification of the population, employment and recreation is called post-suburbanization. In this research the driving forces behind this process have been investigated in the northern suburbs of Hamburg, Germany. For municipalities to grow and diversify they must meet five necessary conditions: they must have a high level of absolute (infrastructure-based) and provide soft attraction factors (adequate level of services, facilities and education, retail and recreational facilities). Furthermore, they must be able to adjust their attractiveness via the willingness of local politicians, the availability of land for exerting urban policies and sufficient financial resources. These latter three conditions are called here the adjustment potential. In a period of socio-demographic changes (which occurs all over Western Europe), the municipalities are only able to keep post-suburbanizing if they meet again three necessary conditions; they must again have good absolute and relative accessibility levels, sufficient adjustment potential and an active urban policy which aims at attracting young families. Without one of these conditions, the population of the municipality will inevitably decline which means that post-suburbanization is no longer occurring.