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Village Voices

Degrowth Qualities and nowtopian stories of futurable rural communities

This contribution connects the quest for future-apt rural areas to the transformative degrowth discourse. Rural areas are less often in the focus of social and political debates than growing and densifying metropolitan areas, even in the degrowth context. Yet, rural areas provide central "utilities" for a good life for all across the scales: they are places of production as well as reproduction, essentially shape the conditions for our existential connectedness to diverse forms and spaces of life, and provide historic know-how and current examples for degrowth-relevant practices. At the same time, they face enormous and intensifying ecological, social, cultural, democratic, and economic challenges. As a result, people in villages and communities, even beyond transition towns and ecovillages, are increasingly looking for ways to make their places more future-apt. To support such villages and to open the transformative eco-solidary discourses around degrowth and diverse economies for the breadth of more conventional communities, we launched "The Futurable Village 2035". The research project aims at developing utopian imaginaries for villages, regions and urban-rural relations that counter hegemonic, growth-focused narratives of “rural development”, and providing examples of nowtopian village practices in various areas such as community, energy, food, health, mobility, or work. We will discuss, first, a set of normative qualities of rural futurability derived from a meta-analysis of degrowth-related approaches to regional and local transformation and from expert interviews, and second, the extent to which practices from pioneering villages in Germany, our case studies, relate to these qualities and can inspire broader change.


Day: 2023-08-31
Start time: 10:15
Duration: 00:15
Room: ZV-8-5
Type: Paper Presentation
Theme: Alternative economies


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