Is degrowth an absolute term?

As a multidisciplinary team our intention is to question how the concept of degrowth is understood in, and embodied across, the spatial practices of ecosystems in sub- Saharan Africa.

Envisioned as an unconventional spatial experience allowing for multiple readings, the dynamic and interactive installation will offer the audience access to a collection of novel case studies. By challenging the reading of the South through the divisive lens of the colonial theodolite, the project presents a living atlas, a learning tool that subverts established modes of conceiving degrowth as an easily transported, translated, and imposed paradigm.


The indigenous African concept of land conflicted sharply with the Eurocentric view. In most of Sub-Saharan Africa, land is viewed as belonging to all, including the dead, the living and the unborn. It is not a commodity that can be sold or exchanged on the market. (Njoh, 2015)

We understand Degrowth as a positivist liberal ideology endeared particularly to western middle classes. As much as we are partisans of the broader cause, what interests us is questioning how to reflected in, and across, a range of diverse cultural, social and economic settings, and in the way designers, citizens, authorities and civil groups shape the built environment around them.

Can degrowth mean, perhaps, deescalating growth? Or devising a new network of systems and codes that do not expand beyond what is necessary for human and non-human subsistence?

Submitted by a collaborative assembly of architects, designers, multidisciplinary artists loosely centred between Cape Town, Harare, Kampala and Zurich, the proposal seeks to place particular attention to the relationship between architecture and education as well as expose the OAT audience on issues fro the Global South and institutionalised barriers to development.
It predominantly hinges on the subtheme Run This Town which suggests an emphasis on participation and engagement as welas expertise and discussion. By focusing on (Southern) African ecosystems, the goal is to show how concepts of degrowth or of different growth are translated and understood in diverse spoken, visual, iconographic, and material languages.

Specifically, the proposed contribution wants to place in relation experimental pedagogical engagements with their community partners. What we envision is the creation of an ever-evolving installation. This will serve as a form of archival-display-retrieval system to store various: manuals, clips, instructions, pieces of law, hacks or tactics of appropriation, etc. Based on our previous work and on new collaborative material to be produced between now and the Triennale, the idea is to create a library of objects, of images and of design processes that leads to imagine a new institution of learning: a physical, mutable exhibition that responds to degrowth.

This matrix – ecosystem – of objects/methods/systems will be initiated by a collection of the teams’ previous experiences as they relate and question the ecosystemic relationship between context and degrowth, the use of diverse languages and methods. The initial matrix will promote further collaborations to trigger new languages that will add richness and layers to the installation as the Triennale develops.

A project for the 2019 Oslo Architecture Triennale 

A project for the 2019 Oslo Architecture Triennale