Urban shrinkage is not a new phenomenon. It has been documented in a large literature analyzing the social and economic issues that have led to population flight, resulting, in the worse cases, in the eventual abandonment of blocks of housing and neighbourhoods. Analysis of urban shrinkage should take into account the new realization that this phenomenon is now global and multidimensional — but also little understood in all its manifestations. Thus, as the world’s population increasingly becomes urban, orthodox views of urban decline need redefinition. The symposium includes articles from 10 urban analysts working on 30 cities around the globe. These analysts belong to the Shrinking Cities International Research Network (SCIRN), whose collaborative work aims to understand different types of city shrinkage and the role that different approaches, policies and strategies have played in the regeneration of these cities. In this way the symposium will inform both a rich diversity of analytical perspectives and country‐based studies of the challenges faced by shrinking cities. It will also disseminate SCIRN’s research results from the last 3 years.