Confronting The ‘sustainable-growth’ Fallacy Impeding The Realization Of Sustainable Development And Sustainable Cities
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The Brundtland Commission Report of 1987 laid out the case for ongoing economic growth as an essential prerequisite for sustainable development. This paper identifies reasoning utilized in that Report to support the idea of ‘sustainable economic growth’. The paper then argues that this economic progrowth bias has continued to represent the dominant, mainstream viewpoint within the sustainable-development movement. In a similar vein, the paper suggests widespread support for the idea of ‘smart growth’ as a form of ‘sustainable urban growth’ capable of advancing the end of sustainable cities. The purpose of the paper is to make the case for the intrinsically unsustainable nature of economic and urban growth. Included among the results of the paper are references to publications from the 1990s and the current decade revealing mounting evidence of existent ecological limits to growth. As its central conclusion the paper argues that continued allegiance to the idea of ‘sustainable growth’ constitutes a major impediment to realizing the ends of sustainable development and sustainable cities. Keywords: ‘sustainable growth’, intrinsically unsustainable growth, ecological limits to growth, sustainable development, sustainable cities. 1 Introduction It has been noted that the concept of sustainable development achieved worldwide recognition and credibility with publication of the Brundtland Commission Report in 1987 . Recently other observers have cited works to support the claim that the Report set the standard and became the point of
‘sustainable growth’, intrinsically unsustainable growth, ecological limits to growth, sustainable development, sustainable cities.