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The Post-Growth City


The Netherlands


Own initiative




Marco Broekman, Jordy Stamps,

Frank de Boer


Researching alternative ways for designing cities; with respect for our planet



Crimson Historians & Urbanists




Working on sustainable and healthy cities is now the objective of almost all spatial development in the Netherlands. Yet we see that the current way of working does not lead to essentially sustainable and inclusive cities. In our view, we therefore need to think fundamentally differently about the way we design our cities. To do this, we need to think beyond the economic growth paradigm and develop a good alternative.


Urgency: limits to growth

For a long time, we have benefited from the prosperity that the apparently infinite (economic) growth has brought us. And for various parts of the world, economic growth is still an important means of providing all inhabitants with a certain standard of living. In the Netherlands and many other rich countries, however, we see that the addiction to economic growth and our endless urge for more, is depleting the living environment, increasing inequality between people and exceeding the limits of our planet.


As architects and urban planners, we also think largely in terms of expansion and growth, and we may also be professionally dependent on growth because our income is related to construction and area development. We think that critical reflection is important right now. Because, as designers, should we always facilitate any form of growth in our cities? And how can we, from our discipline, propose an alternative narrative here?


The research

With the Post-Growth City research we want to explore what the city would look like if we design within the planetary and social boundaries, with the knowledge that cities (such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam) are still magnets in terms of economy and population growth, and therefore also should be able to facilitate certain forms of (demographic) growth. We do this in close collaboration with the municipalities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. In both cities, we will select a neighbourhood or district where we will test and research the principles of the Post- Growth City together with representatives from both municipalities.

The Post-Growth City timeline

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