Housing for Degrowth: Principles, Models, Challenges and Opportunities, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Housing for Degrowth

Principles, Models, Challenges and Opportunities, 1st Edition

Edited by Anitra Nelson, François Schneider


296 pages | 29 B/W Illus.

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‘Degrowth’, a type of ‘postgrowth’, is becoming a strong political, practical and cultural movement for downscaling and transforming societies beyond capitalist growth and non-capitalist productivism to achieve global sustainability and satisfy everyone’s basic needs.

This groundbreaking collection on housing for degrowth addresses key challenges of unaffordable, unsustainable and anti-social housing today, including going beyond struggles for a 'right to the city' to a 'right to metabolism', advocating refurbishment versus demolition, and revealing controversies within the degrowth movement on urbanisation, decentralisation and open localism. International case studies show how housing for degrowth is based on sufficiency and conviviality, living a ‘one planet lifestyle’ with a common ecological footprint.

This book explores environmental, cultural and economic housing and planning issues from interdisciplinary perspectives such as urbanism, ecological economics, environmental justice, housing studies and policy, planning studies and policy, sustainability studies, political ecology, social change and degrowth. It will appeal to students and scholars across a wide range of disciplines.


"This is a splendid and very readable book on housing and urban planning for degrowth. The degrowth perspective implies a decrease in the social metabolism and an increase in communality and conviviality. There are many chapters on actual types of degrowth housing in many countries and fundamental discussions of top-down versus bottom-up urban planning leading to these objectives. This book should become a textbook for courses in architecture, and urban and rural planning."Joan Martinez Alier, Emeritus Professor of Economics and Economic History and Senior Researcher at ICTA, Autonomous University of Barcelona, and Co-director of the EJAtlas (www.ejatlas.org)

"Degrowth is not just a theory — it is practice and it has policy implications. This fantastic collection of new essays shows how a degrowth mindset opens new ways of thinking alternatives and solutions to what is becoming a truly global housing crisis."Giorgos Kallis, ICREA Research Professor at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and a co-editor of Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Paradigm (2014)

"This book brings together astonishingly rich views on sustainable urban development, wholly local but with a global coverage. It fits in with trends away from evermore centralised decision making for growth towards local independence. Decentralised autonomy can halt encroachment of global organisations in private life, with communal housing at its core."Gjalt Huppes, Senior Researcher, Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) at Leiden University, Netherlands

Table of Contents

Foreword Joan Martinez-Alier

Part 1 Simple Living for All

1. Housing for growth narratives Anitra Nelson

2. Housing for degrowth narratives François Schneider

Part 2 Housing Justice

3. From the ‘Right to the City’ to the ‘Right to Metabolism’ Elisabeth Skarðhamar Olsen, Marco Orefice and Giovanni Pietrangeli

4. How can squatting contribute to degrowth? Claudio Cattaneo

Part 3 Housing Sufficiency

5. Rethinking home as a node for transition Pernilla Hagbert

6. Framing degrowth: The radical potential of tiny house mobility April Anson

7. Housing and climate change resilience: Vanuatu Wendy Christie and John Salong

Part 4 Reducing Demand

8. Christiania: A Poster Child for Degrowth? Natasha Verco

9. Refurbishment vs demolition? Social housing campaigning for degrowth Mara Ferreri

10. The Simpler Way: Housing, living and settlements Ted Trainer

Part 5 Ecological Housing and Planning

11. Degrowth: A Perspective from Bengaluru, South India Chitra Vishwanath

12. Low impact living: More than a house Jasmine Dale, Robin Marwege and Anja Humburg

13. Neighbourhoods as the basic module of the global commons Hans Widmer (‘P.M.’) with Francois Schneider

14. The quality of small dwellings in a neighbourhood context Harpa Stefansdottir and Jin Xue

Part 6 Whither Urbanisation?

15. Housing for degrowth: Space, planning and distribution Jin Xue

16. Urbanisation as the death of politics: Sketches of degrowth municipalism Aaron Vansintjan

17. Scale, place and degrowth: Getting from here to ‘there’ — On Xue and Vansintjan I Andreas Exner

18. Geography matters: Ideas for a degrowth spatial planning paradigm — On Xue and Vansintjan II

Karl Krähmer

19. ‘Open localism’ — On Xue and Vansintjan III François Schneider and Anitra Nelson

Part 7 Anti-Capitalist Values and Relations

20. Mietshäuser Syndikat: Collective ownership, the ‘housing question’ and degrowth Lina Hurlin

21. Non-monetary eco-collaborative living for degrowth Anitra Nelson

22. Summary and research futures for housing for degrowth Anitra Nelson and François Schneider

About the Editors

Anitra Nelson is an activist-scholar, Associate Professor in the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University, Melbourne (Australia), and author and editor of several books including Small is Necessary: Shared Living on a Shared Planet (2018) and Life Without Money: Building Fair and Sustainable Economies (ed.) (2011).

François Schneider has supported degrowth since 2001. Co-founder of Research & Degrowth (http://degrowth.org/) and initiator of degrowth conferences, he is associate researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Autonomous University of Barcelona. In 2012, he started the experiential project Can Decreix, 'house of degrowth' in Catalan.

About the Series

Routledge Environmental Humanities

From microplastics in the sea to hyper-trends such as global climate change, mega-extinction, and widening social disparities and displacement, we live on a planet undergoing tremendous flux and uncertainty. At the center of this transformation is human culture, both contributing to the state of the world and responding to planetary change. The Routledge Environmental Humanities Series seeks to engage with contemporary environmental challenges through the various lenses of the humanities and to explore foundational issues in environmental justice, multicultural environmentalism, ecofeminism, environmental psychology, environmental materialities and textualities, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, environmental communication and information management, multispecies relationships, and related topics. The series is premised on the notion that the arts, humanities, and social sciences, integrated with the natural sciences, are essential to comprehensive environmental studies.

The environmental humanities are a multidimensional discipline encompassing such fields as anthropology, history, literary and media studies, philosophy, psychology, religion, sociology, and women’s and gender studies; however, the Routledge Environmental Humanities is particularly eager to receive book proposals that explicitly cross traditional disciplinary boundaries, bringing the full force of multiple perspectives to illuminate vexing and profound environmental topics. We favor manuscripts aimed at an international readership and written in a lively and accessible style. Our readers include scholars and students from across the span of environmental studies disciplines and thoughtful citizens and policy makers interested in the human dimensions of environmental change.

Please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan ([email protected]), to submit proposals.

Praise for A Cultural History of Climate Change (2016):

A Cultural History of Climate Change shows that the humanities are not simply a late-arriving appendage to Earth System science, to help in the work of translation. These essays offer distinctive insights into how and why humans reason and imagine their ‘weather-worlds’ (Ingold, 2010). We learn about the interpenetration of climate and culture and are prompted to think creatively about different ways in which the idea of climate change can be conceptualised and acted upon beyond merely ‘saving the planet’.

Professor Mike Hulme, King's College London, in Green Letters

Series Editors:

Professor Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA

Professor Joni Adamson, Arizona State University, USA

Professor YUKI Masami, Kanazawa University, Japan

Previous editors:

Professor Iain McCalman, University of Sydney Research Fellow in History; Director, Sydney University Environment Institute.

Professor Libby Robin, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra; Guest Professor of Environmental History, Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm Sweden.

Dr Paul Warde, Reader in Environmental History, University of Cambridge, UK

Editorial Board

Christina Alt, St Andrews University, UK, Alison Bashford, University of New South Wales, Australia, Peter Coates, University of Bristol, UK, Thom van Dooren, University of New South Wales, Australia, Georgina Endfield, Liverpool UK, Jodi Frawley, University of Western Australia, Andrea Gaynor, The University of Western Australia, Australia, Christina Gerhardt, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, USA,□Tom Lynch, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA, Jennifer Newell, Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia , Simon Pooley, Imperial College London, UK, Sandra Swart, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, Ann Waltner, University of Minnesota, US, Jessica Weir, University of Western Sydney, Australia

International Advisory Board

William Beinart,University of Oxford, UK, Jane Carruthers, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa, Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago, USA, Paul Holm, Trinity College, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, Shen Hou, Renmin University of China, Beijing, Rob Nixon, Princeton University, USA, Pauline Phemister, Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, UK, Sverker Sörlin, KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, Helmuth Trischler, Deutsches Museum, Munich and Co-Director, Rachel Carson Centre, LMU Munich University, Germany, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University, USA, Kirsten Wehner, University of London, UK

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning
ARCHITECTURE / Sustainability & Green Design
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
HOUSE & HOME / Sustainable Living
NATURE / Ecology
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban