This research aims to analyze the challenges of the spatial shrinkage of public and private services in small and medium-sized towns. Drawing from the litterature on “shrinking cities”, the terms “shrinking”, “decrease”, “decline”, will be questionned in order to better describe the specificity of the contemporary tendency towards a reduction of services in small and medium size towns. Quantitative and qualitative methods will be used. Proposing a methodology to describe the shrinking process of several types of private and public services (retail, health, security), the project will also aim at identifying the global determinants of those processes. A third aim of the research is to enlight the role of national and local actors involved in the proces and to analyze the strategies and policies implemented at both levels..
The project questions the territorial reform currently implemented in France, and explores an emerging theme in the French geographical and planning research.