Futuribles Journal n° 384

Institutions - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement - Société, modes de vie - Territoires, réseaux

What Future for Frugality? The Example of Cities


Economic crisis, global warming, eco-systems under threat, depleted public finances – the current situation, in Europe in particular, is scarcely favourable to needless expenditure and unrestrained consumption. It is, in fact, gradually becoming accepted that the time has perhaps come substantially to revise our modes of life, so as to consume more intelligently in a world whose limited resources have to be divided between a growing number of individuals. This, writes Jean Haëntjens, may involve recourse to the concept of frugality (producing more satisfaction with fewer resources), a concept that is not new, as is attested by the writings of Epicurus, but which, applied on the urban scale, offers genuine possibilities for establishing new developmental models.

Haëntjens presents the main characteristics of this concept of frugality here. He outlines the main strategies implemented by the pioneering cities in this area. He described what he terms the “palette of frugal options”, namely, the lines of possible action to achieve this end through urban policies. Lastly, he stresses how “frugal cities” might inspire national policies in terms of encouraging new lifestyles – and new styles of urbanism.

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