Shrinking cities face the challenge of strategically selecting areas for investment and disinvestment. This entails a movement of money, as well as of people which upsets social patterns of everyday life and livelihoods and has a strong impact upon affected communities. In Ostrava, post-socialist shrinkage interacts with identity politics towards Roma minority to profoundly change the image of and community life in neighbourhoods. The growing literature on shrinking cities has addressed these questions from a planning and governance point of view, but so far largely neglected the impact of shrinkage and shrinkage planning on the lives of ordinary people.
In this paper, we focus on the declining working class neighbourhood of Hrušov in Ostrava which has undergone severe processes of shrinkage. Based on interviews, the case study reveals the background and the socially unequal consequences of the process. It shows how the daily life of the community –consisting of an older Czech population that is increasingly being replaced by incoming Roma families- changed drastically and how the inhabitants actively set up livelihood strategies in response to these changes.