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Beyond GDP growth

Research project in Human Ecology

Project's title: Beyond GDP growth: Scenarios for sustainable building and planning.

Period: 2014-2018

Contact person: Alf Hornborg

Researchers in the project:

Project's website


In policies for sustainable urban development, continued GDP growth is generally taken for granted. Sustainable growth is an overall political goal. However, the rhetoric around this concept have become increasingly criticized by researchers pointing to that there is no evidence of nations having decoupled growth from environmental degradation, given that the global footprints of these nations are accounted for. 

GDP growth is still reliant on access to cheap energy, and in the context of climate change and peaking resources, it is predicted that energy costs will rise. 

In this program we will explore what happens if the assumed GDP growth is halted. This may be due to a redirection of politics towards a steady state economy or it may be a result of financial crises or failed growth politics.
The aim is to explore scenarios for developments with degrowth, steady state and low growth and develop strategies that can be used within the field of building and planning in Sweden. 

Using case studies, we will develop strategies for the building sector, for delivering welfare services, for transportation and for everyday practices. The results are scenarios with a macro economic model and strategic tools for national, regional and local stakeholders. 

Having preparedness and tools for how to cope with declining growth are deemed to be of highest societal relevance for Sweden as well as other nations, irrespective of whether this is regarded as a possibility or a threat.


Page Manager:

The Department of Human Geography
and the Human Ecology Division

Address: Sölvegatan 10,
223 62 Lund
Phone: 046-222 17 59

Faculty of Social Sciences