The idea of the necessity to plan cities begins with the birth of the city itself and the growth of cities is strongly linked to economic growth. The stronger urban expansion in times of the industrial revolution led to the creation of urban planning as an autonomous discpline, that has always tried to change the way cities grow, proposing many different concepts, e.g. garden cities, the just city (Fainstein, 2000) or the green city (Campbell, 1996). Proposals for more or less radical change of cities’ development, but none does critizice the very idea of development, while degrowth theories have limited consideration for development in spatial terms. Problems like urban sprawl are named (Latouche, 2006), but not analyzed in detail.
I try therefore to explore three possible trajectories of research and study for the “degrowth city”:
1) Which forms of spatial organization of settlements are less environmentally damaging? Owen (2010) discovers that “Manhattan” has a much lower ecological footprint per capita than “rural” settlements of people with an urban lifestyle. But agriculture is fundamental. So we need to rethink radically the rural-urban relationship and change the periurban.
2) Which types of settlement favour conviviality? Following Jacobs (1961) and Friedman (2010), the answer seems to be coherent with 1; dense, mix-use neighbourhoods.
3) The reflection about innovative forms of living the urban: Transition Towns, CSA, Urban Gardening, Neighbourhood Centres and many others experiment sustainable forms of urban life.
In conclusion: These are the fundamental aspects? How can they be integrated coherently in order to develop an idea of the spatial form of degrowth.
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Development, Urban Planning, Degrowth“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.