Towards post-growth cities: the cultural politics of mobility transitions in Barcelona and London

This research aims to develop new understandings of the political polarization around progressive urban mobility policies in Europe.
Project status

Post-growth planning is an urgent new paradigm seeking to reorient urban development goals away from economic growth and towards ecological and social well-being. So far, however, this emerging field has overlooked the fundamental role of cultural politics in enabling such a shift. In response, our research foregrounds 'the cultural' as a vital site of political struggles over meaning and applies this to the recent backlash against progressive urban mobility initiatives, focusing on Superblocks in Barcelona and Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods in London.

Combining ethnographic work and participatory workshops with a novel interdisciplinary analysis of urban history, affect and imaginaries, we aim to bring new humanities-informed perspectives to questions of post-growth urban transitions usually dominated by social-scientific and technical disciplines. In doing so, we seek to find innovative pathways for communities to overcome polarisation and collectively re-imagine an alternative cultural politics of urban change that engages with the transformative potential of post-growth.

Principal Investigator: Mrs Catarina Heeckt, London School of Economics and Political Science

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