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Abstract: The focus of this article is on rural–urban (rurban) squatting. The article explains how and why semi-autonomous, small scale, collective economic systems have been established on the Barcelona hills of Collserola which a posteriori can be considered as practical implementations towards degrowth. The authors are first-hand participants in these projects. A qualitative description of the Kan Pasqual and Can Masdeu squat realities is provided, together with an empirical study of energy and time consumption. The results suggest that it is possible to live well within a low-intensity economy. We use the experience from the two squats to question the meaning and definition of degrowth. We argue that degrowth should be a collectively consented choice of life, not an externally-imposed imperative. Degrowth should not be the primer social objective but the outcome of a general transition towards a more democratic and autonomous social and political organization.

Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 18, Pages 581–589