Agita Livina, Linda Veliverronena


Shrinking of rural regions is going on in Eastern and Western European countries. Shrinking phenomena includes Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and other countries and regions. The shrinking region is considered as untoward and gone territory for economic growth particularly from the perspective of policy makers. Shrinking region requires specific tools for development. The aim of this study is to analyse theoretical options for circular economy development in shrinking regions. The growth economy which requires planning more and more profit, units of goods, jobs etc. is not an adequate strategy for shrinking regions. The desktop approach is applied by analysing research articles on shrinking phenomena and circular economy with aim to explore the potential benefits provided by application of principles of circular economy in shrinking regions. The study also reviews policy planning documents on circular economy and regional development at the European Union level and specifically in Latvia which has lost dramatic proportion of inhabitants in last few decades. The findings of the study show that at first, national policy and EU policy does not accept the phenomena of shrinking regions; second, principles of circular economy are applicable to shrinking regions. There are such challenges as cooperation, philosophy of consumption and values, willingness and availability to pay for services. The study will open a discussion about shrinking rural regions and circular economy from another perspective because until now circular economy is mostly related with the zero waste concept.


circular economy; shrinking rural region; planning; balanced development

Full Text:



Baldock, D., Dwyer, J., Lowe, P., Petersen, J.E.&Ward, N. 2001. Report The Nature of Rural Development: Towards a Sustainable Integrated Rural Policy in Europe. A Ten-Nation Scoping for WWF and the GB Countryside Agencies. [Online] Available at: IEEP [Accessed 16 March 2018].

Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, 2015. Results of the 2011 Population and Housing Census in Latvia, Riga: Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

Cross-Sectoral Coordination Centre (CSCC). 2012. National Development Plan of Latvia for 2014–2020. Approved by a Decision of the Saeima on 20 December 2012

Doranova, A., Roman, L., Bahn-Walkowiak., Wilts, H., O`Brien, M., Giljun, S., Kong, M.A., Hestin, M. 2016. EIO Bi-annual report 2016 “Policies and Practices for Eco-Innovation Up-take and Circular Economy Transition”. European Commission: Eco-Innovation Observatory.

Epson (2017). Policy Brief. Shrinking rural regions in Europe Towards smart and innovative approaches to regional development challenges in depopulating rural region. European Union. Available at:

European Comission. 2010. Europe 2020 A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 16 March 2018].

European Commission. 2013. Common Agricultural Policy 2014-2002

European Commission. 2017. Report of the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 16 March 2018].

EUROSTAT. 2018. EU population up to nearly 513 million on 1 January 2018. Eurostat News release 115/2018. Available at:

Franconi, E., Bridgeland, B., Graichen, P. 2016. A New Dynamic 2- Effective Systems in a Circular Economy. Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Gløersen, E., Drăgulin, M., Hans, S., Kaucic, J., Schuh, B., Keringer F., Celotti P. 2016. The impact of demographic change on European regions. European Union Committee of the Regions.

Haase, A., Rink, D., Grossmann, K., Bernt, M., Mykhenko, V. 2014. Conceptualizing urban shrinkage. Environment and Planning A. 46 (7), 1519-1534

Haase, A., Athanasopoulou, A., Rink, D. 2016. Urban shrinkage as an emerging concern for European policymaking. European Urban and Regional Studies 2016, Vol. 23(1) pp. 103–107

Haase, A., Athanasopoulou, A., Rink, D.. 2013.Urban shrinkage as an emerging concern for European policymaking. European Urban and Regional Studies.

Haga, K. 2018. Innovation in rural Japan: entrepreneurs and residents meeting the challenges of aging and shrinking agricultural communitie. Journal of innovation economics & management. Issue: 25. pp. 87-117

Hospers, G.J. 2014. Policy Responses to Urban Shrinkage: From Growth Thinking. European Planning Studies 22 (7), pp. 1507-1523

Kalmykova, Y., Sadagopan, M., Rosado, L. 2018. Circular economy–From review of theories and practices to development of implementation tools. Resources, Conservation&Recycling 135 (2018) pp.190-201.

Korhonen, J., Honkasalo, A., Seppälä, J. 2018. Circular Economy: The Concept and its Limitations. Ecological Economics.143 (2018) pp.37-46

Livina, A., Rozentale, S., Bikse, J. 2018. Report Pre-study concerning the economic framework for innovative rural mobility solutions. EU MAMBA project.

Lovins, A.B., Franconi, E., Bridgeland, B., Graichen, P. 2013. A New Dynamic Effective Business in a Circular Economy 1. Ed. Webster, K., Jocelyn, B., Johnson

Margarian, A. 2013. A Constructive Critique of the Endogenous Development Approach in the European Support of Rural Areas. Growth and Change, 44(1), 1–29. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 16 March 2018].

Matanle, P. (2010) Introduction: A special focus on shrinking regions, Social Science Japan Journal, 13 (2): 183-185.

Miles H.Johe, Navjot Bhullar. 2016. To buy or not to buy: The roles of self-identity, attitudes, perceived behavioral control and norms in organic consumerism. Ecological Economics 128 (2016)99-105.

Ministry of Agriculture of Latvia. 2018. Rural Development Programme of Latvia 2014-2020. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 25 March 2018].

Müller, B., Siedentop, S. 2004. Growth and Shrinkage in Germany - Trends, Perspectives and Challenges for Spatial Planning and Development.

Pallagst, K., Wiechmann,T., Martinez-Fernandez, C.(eds). 2017. Shrinking Cities: International Perspectives and Policy Implications. Abingdon: Routledge.

Paula, L. 2016. Promocijas darbs: Kopienu rīcībspēja lauku attīstībā Latvijā/ Capability of communities for rural development in Latvi a [Online] Available at: [Accessed 25 March 2018].

Pužulis, A., Kūle, L. 2016. Shrinking of Rural Territories in Latvia. European Integration Studies. EIS10/2016

Ray, C. (2001). Culture economies. Centre for Rural Economy, Newcastle University. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 16 March 2018].

Richardson, H.W., Nam, C.W. 2014. Shrinking Cities: A Global Perspective. Abingdon: Routledge.

Saeima of the Republic of Latvia. 2010. Sustainable Development Strategy of Latvia until 2030. Riga: Saeima of the Republic of Latvia

Sepp, V., Veemaa, J. 2017. Shrinking regions and innovative solutions: entrepreneurship, employment and the accessibility of services. Study report. Tartu Ulikool Rake.

SiA Latvijas lauku konsultāciju un izglītības centrs (LLKIC). 2012. Latvijas lauku telpas attīstība un tās iespējamie nākotnes scenāriji/Development of Latvia’s rural environment and its possible future scenarios. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 16 March 2018].

Sousa, S., Pinho, P. 2014. Shrinkage in Portuguese National Policy and Regional Spatial Plans: Concern or Unspoken Word?, Journal of Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, CIEO-Research Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, University of Algarve, vol. 2(4), pp. 260-275.

Ubarevičienė, R., Ham van M., Burneika, D. 2016. Shrinking Regions in a Shrinking Country: The Geography of Population Decline in Lithuania 2001–2011. Urban Studies Research, Volume 2016 (2016)

Ubarevičienė, R., van Ham,M. 2017. Population decline in Lithuania: who lives in declining regions and who leaves? Regional Studies, Regional Science, Vol. 4(1), 57-79.

Vaeliverronen, L., Kruzmetra, Z., Livina, A., Grinfelde, I. 2017. Engagement of Local Communities in Conservation of Cultural Heritage in Depopulated Rural Areas in Latvia. International Journal of Cultural Heritage, 2, 13-21. IARAS Pub.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

SCImago Journal & Country Rank