Luxembourg in Transition 2050
Reducing greenhouse gases by as much as 90 % implies developing entirely new methods, strategies, and narratives in an extremely unbalanced, relational and energy-consuming territory.
In our first report to this call, we focused on the construction of a transition metric that proves that the proposed strategies lead factually to decarbonisation and greater resilience by 2050—and not just suggestively, as is often the case in design prospects. From the very beginning, we had the ambition not to think of this metric only in terms of sectorial bricks, but to develop a system of strategies that treats decarbonisation and social and ecological resilience in a holistic and contextual way. For us, three basic principles are crucial to the construct of this metric: Sufficiency, which means not only relying the transition on technological progress, but building on the culture and economy of a Less is More; Spatial Justice in a relatively prosperous territory, albeit characterised by social and spatial inequalities today; and Regeneration as the third overarching principle, which means the exclusive, consistent and strategic transformation of what is there.
One could describe our work with the concept of metamorphosis: how things and spaces transform from a fossil form into a sustainable form in different time horizons. This way of thinking in different time horizons is also not yet very common to spatial planning disciplines, which are still all too often stuck in normative master planning regimes. However, it is obvious that this metamorphosis is not just about planning or design. It is also about the practices of this transition: how this transformation towards a sustainable era is supported by governance structures. Moreover, it interrogates how it is accepted and lived by the people. We believe that civic empowerment is crucial for the success of the transition. Therefore, our work is not only concerned with the implementation of decarbonisation strategies and the preparation of the territory for the impacts of climate change, but also with the use of the spaces that become available due to these strategies.
The transition, like any fundamental change, needs (counter)spaces in which alternative practices and economies can flourish. Therefore, it was of central importance for us to present alternative post-fossil practices in text and image in this report, in order to use these narratives to engage in a productive dialogue with citizens while demonstrating that “much of less” could potentially lead to “much of more.” In workshops, we have already discussed our approaches with citizens and ex- perts from the region and incorporated many suggestions. But for us, these workshops are only the beginning of a process that will initiate a co-design of the Transition.
Our work is thus a narrative of doing things differently, which is reflected in planning, metrics, and practice according to the composition of our team. Building on the three basic principles—sufficiency, spatial justice, and regeneration—we have defined guiding principles ranging from the archipelago to the city of proximity, less than no net land take, porosity, triple zero in the building sector, food sovereignty, to a regional sharing economy and transition governance.
The principle of prospects or prospectives is to first develop a narrative for a distant date—in this case 2050—and then define the immediate transitions and draw conclusions about what needs to change in terms of economy and governance today rather than in the distant future. This report could therefore only be relegated to the realm of utopia if one is of the opinion that the governance structureor the Luxembourg business model are not fundamentally changeable or ready for a paradigm shift. This is indeed our central line of attack: what we are proposing here is all feasible, and in this sense not utopian. But the goals require both a large-scale societal consensus as well as an unprecedented political will geared at a truly disruptive change towards a resilient and sustainable future.