Degrowth in the Suburbs

While I’m on the announcements train, Degrowth in the Suburbs: A radical urban imaginary, by Brendan Gleeson and Sam Alexander (my co-author for the forthcoming book flagged in the status update just posted) has just been released. Full details are available from the publisher here (there’s also a page for the book on the website of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, where Brendan and Sam both work). From the blurb:

This book addresses a central dilemma of the urban age: how to make the vast suburban landscapes that ring the globe safe and sustainable in the face of planetary ecological crisis. The authors argue that degrowth, a planned contraction of economic overshoot, is the only feasible principle for suburban renewal. They depart from the anti-suburban sentiment of much environmentalism to show that existing suburbia can be the centre-ground of transition to a new social dispensation based on the principle of self-limitation. The book offers a radical new urban imaginary, that of degrowth suburbia, which can arise Phoenix like from the increasingly stressed cities of the affluent Global North and guide urbanisation in a world at risk. This means dispensing with much contemporary green thinking, including blind faith in electric vehicles and high-density urbanism, and accepting the inevitability and the benefits of planned energy descent. A radical but necessary vision for the times.

I get a very kind mention in the acknowledgements, having reviewed the book in detail and provided critical feedback throughout. Degrowth in the Suburbs also draws on material developed for Sam’s and my forthcoming book in making its case for suburban renewal. Our soon-to-be-available book can be read as further substantiation for Brendan and Sam’s thesis outlined above.

The material covered in Degrowth also links back to a post here on my short talk for David Holmgren’s session at the Eco-City World Summit last year. David’s book Retrosuburbia: The downshifter’s guied to a resilient future has since been published also.

As is typically the case with books available via academic publishers, Degrowth in the Suburbs is pretty pricey. If you happen to have access to a university library though, you might be able to access it there (or to arrange for it to be made available). Brendan and Sam would, I’m sure, be very grateful!


1 thought on “Degrowth in the Suburbs

  1. Sounds good. It makes so much sense to work with what we already have than try to ‘solve’ our problems by producing even more stuff. I like this invitation, ‘that existing suburbia can be the centre-ground of transition to a new social dispensation based on the principle of self-limitation.’
    ‘Self-limitation’ is a fascinating road to travel. One soon becomes aware of how much our thoughts have been influenced by the notion that buying more is good, whether ‘for the economy’ or ‘retail therapy’ or other random reasons.

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