Photo credit: Nilmini De Silva

How might we design Garden Cities in the 21st century to support regional areas? How will new technologies, particularly the internet and renewable energy, influence future settlement patterns? Can circular economy principles enable economic activity that has a positive impact on the land and on people?

Felix Mittermeier via Unsplash

We have become accustomed in recent years to talk about economic disruptions: of the taxi industry by Uber and of the hotel industry by Airbnb. Before that we had the disappearance of film processing stores and music record stores with the arrival of digital photography and music.

With digital technology, the marginal cost of producing music or photos is effectively zero. After the capital outlay, there are no ongoing costs apart from maintenance. Renewable energy and electric vehicles are also zero marginal cost technologies.

Imagining a ‘zero marginal cost’ economy

We’re now at the stage where we can start imagining what a zero marginal cost economy…

recent contributions to the degrowth debate by Anitra Nelson and co-editors. Food for Degrowth co-edited by Ferne Edwards
Edited books on degrowth by Anitra Nelson and co-authors. ‘Food for Degrowth’ edited by Anitra Nelson and Ferne Edwards (cover images provided by Anitra Nelson)

Food for Degrowth: Perspectives and Practices, edited by Anitra Nelson and Ferne Edwards is an important contribution not just to debates, but to the practices required for the necessary social and economic transitions towards global environmental sustainability.

Nelson suggests that the term ‘degrowth’ is deliberately provocative and is intended to challenge the prevailing dominant economic paradigm that encourages us to pursue economic growth in all circumstances and at any cost. There have been many contributions to this debate, all seeking to challenge the growth paradigm. One of the most engaging and also one of the earliest is The Economics of…

Image: Michelangelo Buonarroti — Hands of God and Adam, detail from The Creation of Adam, from the Sistine Chapel ceiling, 1511

Throughout human history there have been many ways in which societies have conceived of their god or gods. The idea of god that a society develops offers a deep insight into the character of the people in that society. In modern Western society, where we are encouraged to be individuals, it becomes more difficult to maintain collective ideas and especially collective ideas of god. Whilst it is important to think for ourselves and to discover our own unique personality, this makes attempts to create a collective identity more difficult.

The 7 different conceptions of god described in this article exist…

Ancient Greek symposium on vase by Marie-Lan Nguyen via Wikipedia

“The problem is unemployment; only growth can create the jobs. Schools and hospitals are underfunded; the answer is faster growth. We can’t afford to protect the environment; the solution is more growth. Poverty is entrenched; growth will rescue the poor. Income distribution is unequal; the answer is more growth.

If the answer to the problem is always more growth then who dares ask the question: What if the problems are caused by economic growth?” ~Clive Hamilton (1998:26)

Let us ask this question and challenge the collective idea that ‘jobs and growth’ is the pathway to prosperity.

One way to do…

The smoke from the Australian bushfires have, on occasions, soared over 17 kilometres up into the stratosphere, creating their own weather systems, including thunderstorms and lightning strikes that start new fires. NASA predicts the smoke will travel all the way around the globe and back to Australia. Many have claimed that arsonists are to blame but only one percent of the land burnt can officially be attributed to arsonists.

Felix Mittermeier via Unsplash

Following on from my recent article ‘From Centralized Cities to a Network of Regenerative Settlements’, I’m pleased to let you know that this is not just blue sky dreaming as we have now developed an implementation process. The process for planning a network of regenerative settlements has just been published in a peer-reviewed journal which can be found here:

Read the abstract below:

Purpose of the paper

Whilst the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables offers significant environmental benefits, the other transition — from a centralised to a distributed energy system — underpins a disruptive model for planning cities, towns and villages…

The word ‘indigenous’ means ‘originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; a native’. An indigenous person is someone who is connected to their place, someone who understands, and feels a part of, the natural environment around them. The air-conditioned comfort of urban life necessarily inhibits our ability to fully connect with our place. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) “more than 90% of our population lives within 100km of the coast making us one of the world’s most urbanised coastal dwelling populations”.

Australians pride themselves on the idea that we are a successful multi-cultural nation, yet like…

A virtually connected network of circular economy villages

In 1930, at the onset of the Great Depression, the economist John Maynard Keynes addressed what he called “a bad attack of economic pessimism” by imagining the distant future. In his essay, “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren” Keynes imagined that by 2030 the standard of living would be so high that people would be liberated from want and that we, the grandchildren, would work no more than fifteen hours a week. He argued that this liberation would be driven partly by what he called technological unemployment. He believed that one day, technology would free us from work.

I agree that…

Photo by Tom Rumble on Unsplash

“No. Look, if housing were unaffordable in Sydney, no one would be buying it…” ~Treasurer Joe Hockey (Sydney Morning Herald, 9 June 2015)

It is difficult to believe such a statement could come from a Federal Treasurer. Is the government comfortable with the fact that only a small proportion of the population can still afford housing? Is it a satisfactory state of affairs that in order to access housing, the majority of the population must accept lifelong mortgage debt? Is the purpose of government to manage the economic conditions for all Australians or for the few who can still afford…

Steven Liaros

#rethinkingthecity #neweconomy #circulareconomy, , #FreedomEqualityCompasssion, #RegenerativeDevelopment

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