Urban sprawl is constantly reducing the vital area necessary for countless species of animals, plants as well as for the human race. Everywhere, the ecological toll of urban sprawl is growing. Geneva, where I live, is no exception. I am writing a book on the destruction of the last forest remaining close to the city, and it is very sadening to witness the urbanization of beautiful forests with fully grown trees and prairie. After countless such disapearances witnessed since 20 years, one gets a wide-angled picture of what is happening. Economic growth is the mantra leading the political programmes of every major political party. The problem is, with every new corporation choosing Geneva for its location, the population rises. And every new inhabitant induces 400 m2 of infrastructure.
As long as economic growth, as we know it today, continues to dictate our policies, urban sprawl will continue.
The question is, can we have a sprawl-less economic growth? Is there an alternative to what we’re living?
With these words, writer, former squatter, and dedicated squattercity commentator Philippe de Rougemont proposes a new and urgent topic for debate.
So have at it: Are there alternatives to sprawl? Or do capitalism and growth necessitate ripping apart the countryside in the search for ever-more-rare urban land? Is continuing urbanization an ecological disaster?