Organised around the logic of growth, competition and wealth accumulation, the mainstream housing sector fails to fulfil people’s need for affordable and secure shelter that does not compromise ecological limits. Seeking to address this problem in a socially just and environ-mentally sound way, degrowth theory challenges lavish dwelling standards and commodified housing and argues that we need to reconceptualise notions of wellbeing and sustainability. In this paper, I explore degrowth approaches to housing through a case-study analysis of the alternative neighbourhood Svartlamon in Trondheim, Norway. The analysis draws on 11 semi-structured, qualitative interviews and is guided by the question: “How can the alterna-tive housing model at Svartlamon help us understand the nexus between degrowth and well-being, sustainability and ownership?”. The findings suggest that it is possible to achieve sub-jective wellbeing also with a lower housing standard, but only if the reduction in material wealth brings about other favourable aspects that contribute to wellbeing, such as for in-stance surplus time. Furthermore, the study shows that when profit is not the ultimate goal, housing sustainability and ownership can in fact be conceptualised in many different ways. To scale up degrowth housing, it would therefore be important to emphasize and promote especially alternative ownership models, as these have the greatest potential to radically trans-form mainstream, growth-oriented housing.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Alternative housing, degrowth, sustainability, wellbeing, community-initiatives
Thesis Advisor Biekart, Kees
Persistent URL
Series Social Justice Perspectives (SJP)
Sundby, Eirin Margrethe. (2019, December 20). Living well without growth: Housing alternatives, degrowth and the example of Svartlamon. Social Justice Perspectives (SJP). Retrieved from