Version 3.2

Re-imagining technology in post-growth 'rurban' futures

Accelerating transitions towards sustainable, post-fossil fuel futures is no longer an option but an imperative. Technological innovation is central in policy debates about how to achieve sustainability transitions and pressing climate targets. Yet, as shown by the current protests against coal mining in Lützerath, western Germany, neither so-called green technology nor present understandings of technological innovation, which ignore embedded material and energy footprints, can, alone, lead us towards more sustainable futures. To achieve such futures, we need radical transformations in how our very economies work, in how we produce and consume – ultimately, in our core societal values and how we imagine and reproduce our everyday lives and the technologies that support them. In this paper, we argue that relational values, such as responsibility, care, reciprocity, and stewardship, are more attuned to support the move towards sustainability. While present in the open-source technology culture, for instance through ‘tinkering’ as a form of knowledge co-production, as well as in movements combining bioregionalism and retrofitting, these values remain an uncharted territory in the context of mainstream discourses on technology for sustainability transitions. Taking a speculative approach, inspired by experiential design and everyday futures practices, we will explore how relational values might help us re-imagine technology in post-growth futures. Central to our discussion will be empirical materials and experiences from a speculative workshop co-designed with creative technology practitioners who share an open-source and low-energy coding ethos. Based on this workshop, we will reflect on how technologies in post-growth futures might help us reconnect the ‘rural’ and the ‘urban’ in our imagination and practice, allowing us to re-inhabit bioregions, and fostering relational, ‘rurban’, values across networks of human and more-than-human actors.


Day: 2023-08-31
Start time: 12:00
Duration: 00:15
Room: ZV-8-9
Type: Paper Presentation
Theme: Technology and science for degrowth


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