The No-Growth Imperative
Creating Sustainable Communities under Ecological Limits to Growth
More than two decades of mounting evidence confirms that the existing scale of the human enterprise has surpassed global ecological limits to growth. Based on such limits, The No-Growth Imperative discounts current efforts to maintain growth through eco-efficiency initiatives and smart-growth programs, and argues that growth is inherently unsustainable and that the true nature of the challenge confronting us now is one of replacing the current growth imperative with a no-growth imperative.
Gabor Zovanyi asserts that anything less than stopping growth would merely slow today’s dramatic degradation and destruction of ecosystems and their critical life-support services. Zovanyi makes the case that local communities must take action to stop their unsustainable demographic, economic, and urban increases, as an essential prerequisite to the realization of sustainable states.
The book presents rationales and legally defensible strategies for stopping growth in local jurisdictions, and portrays the viability of no-growth communities by outlining their likely economic, social, political, and physical features. It will serve as a resource for those interested in shifting the focus of planning from growth accommodation to the creation of stable, sustainable communities. While conceding the challenges associated with transforming communities into no-growth entities, Zovanyi concludes by presenting evidence that suggests that prospects for realizing states of no growth are greater than might be assumed.
Table of Contents
Preface 1. Requiem for the Growth Imperative 2. The American Community as a Growth Machine 3. Rationales and Strategies for Stopping Growth in America’s Communities 4. The No-Growth Path to Sustainability 5. Envisioning No-Growth Communities Epilogue: Ten Difficult Personal Actions Needed to Save the World
Gabor Zovanyi is a Professor of Urban Planning at Eastern Washington University, USA. He has degrees from UCLA, San Diego State University, and the University of Washington. With research specializations in growth management, sustainable communities, and land-use law he is also the author of Growth Management for a Sustainable Future.
'Gabor Zovanyi, an urban planner, persuasively demolishes the temporizing evasions of managed growth, balanced growth, smart growth, green growth, etc., and logically demonstrates the imperative of no-growth. Many ideas and strategies for implementing no-growth at the local level are insightfully discussed. Well referenced and highly recommended!'– Herman Daly, Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland
'This book is an outstanding resource for community leaders and activists seeking to move beyond the endless growth model and towards greater stability and sustainability.' – Eben Fodor, urban planner
'As the era of exponential economic growth comes to its end, societies are experiencing extraordinary levels of stress. Planners should be at the forefront of this inevitable historic shift, and this clear, well-argued book points the way. It could hardly be more timely.' – Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute
"Gabor Zovanyi is a professor on a practical mission who makes a crucial contribution by describing in detail the characteristics of sustainable communities. The No-Growth Imperative will be read by sustainability scholars and students far and wide, but it is a must-read for the mayors, city councils, county commissioners, and other civic leaders of the 21st Century." – Brian Czech, Centre for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy
"Humans are endowed with several unique qualities of which perhaps none are more important than our capacity for logical, evidence-based analysis and our ability to engage in forward planning. In short, humankind is the only species able to act deliberately to change its future for the better. We even have a whole planning profession founded on this singular reality. That said, the evidence today suggests that the sheer scale of the human enterprise, and our seemingly unthinking dedication to continued material growth, are undermining global life support systems and with them, the human prospect. Change is coming; the end of growth is inevitable. The only question is whether the end will be dominated by chaotic disorder or inspired vision. But where are the planners? At last with The No-Growth Imperative, we have a de-growth book for community planners and social activists that should let them confront society's growth demons head on. Let us begin the transition to an equitable stable steady-state within the means of nature and, in the doing of it, rise to our full human potential." – William Rees, Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia
"At the end, as a counterpoint to much ecological writing, the author proposes 10 difficult personal actions needed to save the world, including ecologically responsible childbearing, shifting from private to public transport, eating much lower on the food chain and becoming (a new word for me) a locavore." – David Lorimer, Network Review