Leading planning expert proposes to do away with 500 of the country’s smallest towns and villages

Professor Jørgen Møller wants to eradicate the country’s ‘loser towns’.

For a town to fall into the Aalborg University professor’s unflattering classification, it needs a dearth of empty houses, no local supermarket or grocer and no school.
‘The wise general plots a retreat tactic and draws a line,’ Møller said, suggesting the smartest thing was to shut down the ‘loser towns’.

‘If there aren’t enough children to populate the schools and the nursing homes are closing, then a complete closure ought to be considered.’

Møller said if a town’s population fell so did its tax base. And school closures meant fewer people would move to the town, resulting in the perpetual cycle that unfortunately existed in far too many villages.

Møller also said small, mostly deserted towns tended to attract drug abusers and people with other social problems.

‘People want to close their eyes to reality by getting the problems to seem smaller than they really are,’ he said. ‘But to actually shut down a town isn’t a discussion many are willing to take up.’

The tiny Jutland towns of Jerup and Pårup, Utterslev on Funen and Søborg in northern Zealand would be the top candidates for Møller’s ‘shutdown’ proposal, all having lost more than 13 percent of their populations since 2006, according to Statistics Denmark.