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Futures Beyond GDP Growth: Final report from the research program 'Beyond GDP Growth: Scenarios for sustainable building and planning'
KTH, Skolan för arkitektur och samhällsbyggnad (ABE), Samhällsplanering och miljö, Urbana och regionala studier.ORCID-id: 0000-0001-8208-820x
KTH, Skolan för arkitektur och samhällsbyggnad (ABE), Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik, Hållbarhet, utvärdering och styrning.ORCID-id: 0000-0002-5600-0726
Södertörn .ORCID-id: 0000-0001-7019-8276
KTH, Skolan för arkitektur och samhällsbyggnad (ABE), Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik, Strategiska hållbarhetsstudier.ORCID-id: 0000-0002-0218-9746
Visa övriga samt affilieringar
2019 (Engelska)Rapport (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Abstract [en]

A future society no longer based on economic growth – what would that look like?The research program “Beyond GDP Growth: Scenarios for sustainable building and planning” (www.bortombnptillvaxt.se) is a strong research environment funded by the Swedish Research CouncilFormas, which has run between 2014 and 2018. In collaboration with societal partners, the program hasgathered researchers from diferent disciplines to explore key issues and conditions for planning for asustainable future beyond GDP growth. This is a relevant contribution to a largely under-researchedarea, where few scientific studies have explored what a sustainable society could look like, and what asustainable economy that is not based on growth might actually mean.In economic and political discussions, the notion of continuous economic growth is often taken forgranted and seen as a prerequisite for a safe and sustainable societal development. At the same time,a blind faith in and expectations surrounding growth can constitute a threat to the development of asustainable society if growth declines. Also an optimistic prognosis from the OECD indicates that it islikely that future GDP growth will be lower than what has come to be seen as the normal level duringthe second half of the 20th century. Declining economic growth could mean risks for increased socialgaps and unemployment. However, economic models show that the possibilities for handling these risksincrease if there is an awareness of them, and if this is addressed politically. Therefore, it is important tonot just assume continued economic growth, but to plan also for alternative scenarios.A starting point for the research program has been an understanding of the significant transitionsneeded to approach a safe and just operating space for humanity within planetary boundaries. Fourgoals that should be met in order to consider the societal development sustainable were specified: twoenvironmental goals related to climate and land use, and two social goals regarding power, influence andparticipation, and welfare and resource security.Four scenarios for Sweden 2050 were developed, which show the diferent directions society could taketo reach the set sustainability goals. The scenarios illustrate future societies that do not have to build onthe current economic logic, but that instead are centred around four alternative strategies:Collaborative EconomyLocal Self-SufciencyAutomation for Quality of LifeCircular Economy in the Welfare StateSo, can we reach the selected sustainability targets in the four future scenarios? A transformation ofhistorical proportions are needed – and it needs to start immediately. According to the sustainabilityassessment conducted within the project, the environmental goals of climate and land use can be reachedin all scenarios, even though it demands changing multiple parameters at the same time. Nothing pointsto it being impossible or generally difcult to achieve the social goals in the four scenarios, however theremight be diferent aspects that are particularly tricky. There are both development potentials and risks,which can be diametrically opposite for diferent social groups and parts of the country, depending onthe local prerequisites.Many diferent images of sustainable futures are needed. The scenarios should be seen as a tool fordiscussion and analysis when it comes to planning for a sustainable societal development beyondGDP growth. They challenge notions of what is possible, what changes that can and should be made,6what decisions that are needed and what should be prioritized. The scenarios all suggest a largechange compared the current development trajectory, and for example all point towards the need forredistribution of resources. It might involve economic resources, but could also relate to power andinfluence over production, or the possibility to use land for production of food, materials and energy.This redistribution could happen according to diferent principles in the diferent scenarios.In all the scenarios, the consumption of goods and of meat is reduced. Flight travel also needs to bedrastically reduced to reach the climate target. There is furthermore a need for reducing the constructionof both housing and road infrastructure, although to varying extents in the four scenarios. Other aspectssuch as working hours, the organization of welfare systems, the characteristics of the built environmentand the amount of infrastructure needed are on the other hand diferent in the diferent scenarios.The research program has explored what a development that isn't based on economic growth, in linewith the strategies that are depicted in the scenarios, would mean for rural as well as urban conditions.Three case study municipalities were selected with regards to their diferent geographical location,built form, economic development and size of the population: Övertorneå, Alingsås and Malmö. Insome sub-studies in these diferent contexts, descriptions emerged of cognitive as well as structuralbarriers, a sense of powerlessness and a weak capacity for transition among diferent actors. This isconnected to expectations and general assumptions regarding growth, partly irrespective of the context.Municipalities and companies to a large extent plan for and expect a societal development that buildsupon a further expansion of infrastructure, transport and consumption. Despite visions for sustainabledevelopment, in practice this often leads to a reproduction of current unsustainable structures and waysof life.At the same time, specific empirical studies within the project point toward stories of self-sufciency,of regional upswings and that the population is more important than GDP. There is an increasedawareness and a multitude of examples of experimenting with new sustainable practices that constituteseeds for change. Critiques against planning for continuous growth is being taken more seriously andclearer political visions are demanded. New forms of organizing the economy, society and welfare arealso being developed. Some examples include working from a perspective on socio-ecological justice,integration of sustainability targets in all planning, and developing new roles for consumers andproducers. These ideas can be seen as windows of opportunity, but also show that change can happenwithin the current system.The future means change. In this research program, we point towards some possible futures that aimat reaching certain sustainability targets. The scenarios and the discussion and analysis that they havebrought about show that there is an opportunity to move towards a sustainable development withmaintained or even increased well-being – provided that the understanding of well-being is based onother values than those of our current society. For these possible future trajectories to gain support,there is a need of political instruments and measures that actively drive the development towards a justand safe operating space for humanity

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Stockholm, 2019. , s. 57
Serie
TRITA-ABE-RPT ; 1835
Nationell ämneskategori
Annan samhällsvetenskap
Forskningsämne
Planering och beslutsanalys, Strategier för hållbar utveckling
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-340632ISBN: 978-91-7873-044-5 (tryckt)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-340632DiVA, id: diva2:1818177
Projekt
Beyond GDP Growth: Scenarios for sustainable building and planning
Forskningsfinansiär
Forskningsrådet Formas
Anmärkning

Translation of DiVA 1524798

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Hagbert, PernillaFinnveden, GöranSvenfelt, ÅsaAlfredsson, EvaBradley, KarinCallmer, ÅsaFauré, EléonoreGunnarsson-Östling, UlrikaIsaksson, KarolinaMalmqvist, ToveSkånberg, Kristian

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Hagbert, PernillaFinnveden, GöranFeuhrer, PaulSvenfelt, ÅsaAlfredsson, EvaAretun, ÅsaBradley, KarinCallmer, ÅsaFauré, EléonoreGunnarsson-Östling, UlrikaHornborg, AlfIsaksson, KarolinaMalmaeus, MikaelMalmqvist, ToveNyblom, ÅsaSkånberg, KristianÖhlund, Erika
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