Tremendously high dynamics of urban development where growth and shrinkage processes occur at the same time are observed in cities of many Northern American and European countries. Suburbanization going along with an expansion of residential and commercial areas at the urban fringe is simultaneously observed and interacts with a declining or stagnating population as a consequence of de-industrialization. In the last 50 years, about 370 cities with more than 100,000 residents have undergone population losses of more than 10%. In extreme cases, the rate of loss reached up to 90%.As a diverging development inner cities with their compact urban form suffer from residential vacancy and are mostly affected by industrial derelict land. New steering concepts need to be elaborated and put next to the well-established planning instruments to become helpful an innovative and multi-purpose governance in this situation. The existence of urban derelict land can be the opportunity to minimize the amount of further land consumption, to develop a different inner structure of the city, and to redevelop urban areas of residential vacancy with densification projects and urban brownfields into commercial sites or to revitalise derelict land as new open spaces for an enhanced environmental quality.The City of Leipzig, Germany, is a typical case study for de-industrialisation processes and offers a multitude of brownfield sites. During the German Democratic Republic it gave home to labour for thousands of industrial workers, but after reunification took place in 1989, the industrial sites were outdated, and Leipzig first underwent typical shrinkage processes. During the past decade Leipzig slowly changed its character into a modern urban centre of the tertiary sector with urban brownfields as a challenge and creative opportunity.It is a challenge for planning authorities as well as for scientists to handle the brownfields in terms of their different qualitites, quantities, neighbourhood context and options for re-valuation. Location, amount and spatial configuration of urban brownfields need to be followed-up in terms of their spatial and ecological fingerprint to support sustainable management decisions. Therefore researchers and planners work together: they map, monitor and analyse brownfields in order to regenerate the valuable space for different purposes. The City Council’s compensation land use management tool helps to consider if sites are suitable for revitalisation of green networks to enhance the environmental quality in certain residential areas and to compensate the sealing of soils through newly developed sites. Another aspect is to redevelop brownfields for commercial purposes for which the commercial sites information system has been established. For the sake of sound planning, monitoring and analysis have become a transdisciplinary task for science and governance institutions that allows to picture different perspectives for brownfield sites.