Post-Growth Planning: Cities Beyond the Market Economy

Cities cover just 2% of the planet’s surface but consume 75% of all the materials and energy worldwide. In 2050, planetary urbanization will demand ten times more materials, water, and energy than today. This is seriously undermining any possibility to halt climate breakdown. In this event, we will analyse how a degrowth agenda for cities might be the answer to this urgent issue.

The ecological burden that cities bring on the planet is not equally distributed. While wealthy social groups enjoy larger access to services such as high-quality housing, international mobility and free time, a large majority of the world population has no access to minimum living standards. Degrowth proposes a planned and equitable downscaling of all that is ‘excess’ production and consumption, achieved through an economy that thrives out of care, education, health, sufficiency, regeneration, and repair. It proposes to increase the living standards of poor urban dwellers, to improve the personal well-being of all urban inhabitants, and at the same time meet climate targets.

What would a degrowth agenda for cities look like? What would degrowth mean for Amsterdam, a city that wishes to thrive within planetary boundaries? On the occasion of the publication in 2022 of the book: Post-growth planning: cities beyond the market economy, edited by Federico Savini, Kim von Schönfeld and Antonio Ferreira, the above and more will be discussed.

About the speakers

Federico Savini is associate professor in environmental planning, institutions, and politics at the University of Amsterdam. He is currently leading an international research program on degrowth, cities and the circular economy. His most recent publications include Post-growth planning: cities beyond the market economy (published in 2022), edited together with Kim von Schönfeld and Antonio Ferreira.

Kim Carlotta von Schönfeld is postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Transdisciplinary Research ‘Culture, Space and Memory’ at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Porto, Portugal. She is co-editor of the book Post-growth planning: cities beyond the market economy (published in 2022) and author of several publications on post-growth planning and mobilities.

Cody Hochstenbach is assistant professor in urban geography at the University of Amsterdam. He has published largely on housing inequality, gentrification, and housing justice in cities all over the world. He is author of the book Uitgewoond (published in 2022) where he addresses the politics of the Dutch housing crisis.

Melissa Koutouzis is a housing activist and movementbuilder that co-organized ‘het Woonprotest’ and other housing protest in the Netherlands. She works at the Transnational Institute, mainly on the Transformative Cities project which focuses on collectives that are building post-capitalist alternatives and have successfully campaigned for the right to water, food, energy and housing around the world.

Winne van Woerden (moderator) is Program coordinator Degrowth & Care Economy at the Commons Network. She is member of, the degrowth network of The Netherlands.

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