Growthism in Irish Spatial Planning in an Age of Limits: Towards a Transformative Post-Growth Praxis

Daly, Gavin ORCID: 0009-0001-6901-9469
(2023) Growthism in Irish Spatial Planning in an Age of Limits: Towards a Transformative Post-Growth Praxis. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Humanity today stands in an age of crisis. From economic shocks to global pandemics and the existential climate and ecological emergencies, the future has never looked more imperilled. Yet the planning profession, as future orientated praxis, seems powerless in mitigating this dangerous trajectory and in conceiving alternative spatial prospects beyond endless production and consumption growth, driving civilisation ever further towards collapse. In a search for alternative possibilities, the aim of this thesis is to understand why planning is growth-orientated and how it could be theorised differently. Planning’s purpose as a basic functionary in the reproduction of capital is first critically interrogated and how planning knowledge continuously evolved to install a growth imperative as its governing ideology. The heterodox concept of degrowth is then offered as a deliberately disruptive discourse to radically repoliticise planning and to advance the urgent institutional changes required in the face of the limits to growth. Combining an original synthesis of spatial dialectics and post-structuralism, I develop a novel research praxis for spatialising degrowth as a transgressive epistemology and, through advancing an alternative understanding of planning’s foremost concepts of ‘balanced’ and ‘sustainable’ development, I apply this to the Irish National Planning Framework as an empirical case study using documentary analysis and participant interviews, to deconstruct the hidden locus of planning’s growth ideology and to identify opportunities for how it might be transcended. Finally, as the original contribution of this thesis, I argue that it is from the very geographically uneven contradictions of capitalist spatialisation itself, manifesting in the grassroots planning practices of post-industrial shrinking cities, where the conditions for urban growth have already broken down, that the performative possibilities for enunciating a transformative post-growth planning paradigm might be apprehended.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2023 10:17
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2023 11:13
DOI: 10.17638/03172955