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For centuries our society has been seduced by the idea that growth is always good. Today, we are familiar with the cost of that growth: global warming, social inequality and vast migration, amongst many others. Degrowth promotes the idea that by radically reducing our consumption and production we might in fact be happier and more capable of taking care of our planet and ourselves. Architecture's proximity to the economy has not always made the industry's relationship with money straightforward. The economic theories and models shaping our world have been incapable of incorporating into their calculations the finite resources they are dependent on.

The Architectural Review has regularly published pieces looking at these themes through the lens of the economy, climate change, oceans and ecology, natural building materials, deforestation and adaptive re-use – as well as through awards like New into Old and campaigns like The Big Rethink

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Enough is enough: Oslo Architecture Triennale 2019Subscription


Telling new stories for the future of the planet, this year’s Oslo Architecture Triennale, Enough: The Architecture of Degrowth, peels back the skin of capitalism and finds hope in the hopeless

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On the money: the merits of degrowthSubscription

30 August, 2019 By Phineas Harper, Maria Smith

Instead of falling victim to the economic structures that govern our lives, architecture needs to redefine the value it contributes to society and promote degrowth

Smart city

Outrage: ‘for the Smart Cities Mission, cities are solely instruments of economic growth’Subscription

By Himanshu Burte

As the Smart Cities Missions aim for engines of economic growth, more and more Indian cities resemble company towns 

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‘The shock waves of the new political economy steering housing policies are widespread across the globe’Subscription

By Nelson Mota, Dick van Gameren

To tackle this global crisis, we must look at people as a vital infrastructure for 21st century cities, not just to systems of pipes or cables

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Andreas Gursky and an economy of scaleSubscription


Depicting 30 years of global capitalism and mass consumerism, the photographs of Andreas Gursky sometimes make for uncomfortable viewing

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Waste not: Rotor and the practice of deconstructionSubscription

By Lionel Devlieger

Building on an ancient culture of reusing and recycling building components, Rotor argues that there is an urgent need to rediscover the art of destruction

Traffic: the enemy

Smart Growth: From Sprawl to Sustainability by Jon ReedsSubscription


Smart Growth is about using less, or as some proponents argue, using stuff ‘more wisely’


Think or swim: reassessing our adaptation to climate changeSubscription

By Kit Jones

Responding to the IPCC’s recent message of ‘adapt to survive’ requires more than bigger dams. Rather than change how we build, we must change how we think, writes Kit Jones

Adaptive re-use

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Recipe for disaster: the CLIMAVORE dietSubscription

By Daniel Fernández Pascual, Alon Schwabe

A radical new mindset is called for in food production and consumption to offset anthropogenic hazards


Undergrowth Economy: The Bindweed ShardSubscription

By Phil Jackson & Kate Riggs

Over your cities, grass will grow: This ink drawing by David Janes suggests an amusing future condition for Renzo Piano’s London Bridge Tower


A losing game: harnessing failureSubscription

By Keller Easterling

From mass migration to climate change to the crisis of capitalism, engaging with failure could unveil a new global geography of value

Building with natural materials


The Big Rethink Part 1: Towards a Complete ArchitectureSubscription


AR’s new campagn is launched with a critical broadside at the many “Starchitects” of the industry from Peter Buchanan

Explore more of The Big Rethink

Explore more of The Big Rethink

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Reinventing the rural: a new perspective on our countrysideSubscription

By Adam Sutherland

The new vision created by urban dwellers of the green land is far more rural than the countryside itself


World of Watercraft: the future of dryland ecosystemsSubscription

By Hadley Arnold

As climate change intensifies, architects must become fluent in critical reasoning around water’s relationship to social, political and economic power

Oceans and ecology