What does it take to 'Redefine Growth' on a scale that really matters? During the Amsterdam Urban Innovation Week 2013 in September 2013, we tried to answer this question.
Our world is built on the paradigm of economic growth. Growth is seen as the most effective means to lift millions of people out of poverty and to ensure prosperity and opportunity for all. And in many places and for many people, it has been extraordinarily successful in achieving this goal. But as we approach a global population of 7 billion we must acknowledge that the world of today is facing significant social and environmental challenges. And we must consider the role our continuous quest for growth.
Yet how do we move beyond growth when everything in our economic system and culture is based on and modelled after the idea that perpetual growth is necessary and something to celebrate? How do we overcome the mantra of growth when it is at the heart of our value and belief systems that have formed our personal and professional ambitions and that guide our decisions and thus our behaviour?
We need to redefine the growth paradigm as one disconnected from the traditional economic growth, and explore new foundations of our economy, our society and our personal lives.
Among (young) consumers and citizens this awareness is starting to sink in, resulting in a growing number of new companies and citizen initiatives that are based on alternative value systems. Slowly this new way of thinking also gains traction with large, traditional and powerful companies that take drastic measures to sincerely incorporate sustainable practices and social responsibility.
But one does not change one’s core foundations in life overnight. So what does it take to Redefine Growth on a scale that really matters? During the Amsterdam Urban Innovation Week 2013, we tried to answer this question. Together with more than hundred partners and initiatives in Amsterdam we were challenging the different visions and believes, knowledge, local experiences and concrete practices in the city to find new perspectives, models and ways to handle in everyday life.
Initiated by Pakhuis de Zwijger in collaboration with PICNIC, Waag Society, the Amsterdam City Council and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. Made possible by a subsidy of the Fund Creative Industries NL.