Spatializing degrowth: Five steps towards a radical urban degrowth agenda in the face of climate emergency.
This paper calls for coupling degrowth with urban studies and planning agendas. This, we argue is an academically and politically urgent endeavour that will benefit both fields. Our aim is threefold: 1) to explore practices for ‘operationalizing’ degrowth concepts into urban agendas and spatial practices; 2) to sketch a pathway that can take degrowth scholarship beyond its current focus on localized experiments and can inform larger scale planning practices and international agendas; and 3) to critically assess the multiple ways in which such a radical urban degrowth agenda will have to differ in the Global North and the Global South.
We outline five necessary steps for developing such a programmatic, yet pragmatic, urban degrowth agenda. First, to ground current degrowth debates within their historical geographical context. This would reduce ‘re-inventing the wheel’ practices and inform current initiatives with the wealth of past urban degrowth experiments. Second, to engage urban degrowth scholars in the production and implementation of with the role that institutions can play in linking degrowth agendas with large large-scale urbanization policies through pathways that avoid greenwashing. in the global North and the Global South. Third, to examine under which conditions insurgent degrowth groups and practices can be scaled- up without co-optation. Fourth, to focus on the neglected role that experts and professionals (architects, designers, planners, care professionals, IT and technology specialists) can play in linking insurgent degrowth agendas with broader urban and regional practices. Fifth, to acknowledge the uneven social outcomes that degrowth spatial practices would bring to the Global North and the Global South; and to high and low- income populations within the same regions.