fbpx 60 538 Post-growth: designing for transitional societies in a climate altered world | The Oslo School of Architecture and Design


Start semester

60 538 Post-growth: designing for transitional societies in a climate altered world

Full course name in Norwegian Bokmål: 
Post-growth: designing for transitional societies in a climate altered world
Course code: 
60 538
Level of study: 
Teaching semester: 
2024 Autumn
Assessment semester: 
2024 Autumn
Language of instruction: 
Maximum number of students: 
Person in charge
Anders Ese
Required prerequisite knowledge

Admission to master in architecture or landscape architecture at AHO and successful completion of three years bachelor level studies (180 ECTS).

Course content

The studio course series investigates how climate change and its many connected crises will demand radically different futures, and how these will require an equally radical restructuring of our societies and not least our professions. Climate change is the greatest threat humanity is facing. Yet, other crises like wars, repression, political instability, and growing economic disparities are often given priority. But these crises are not separate. At their core they all connect to how we distribute and consume resources and how our societies are currently locked into extractive growth models, overshadowing environmental and social concerns. The course explores transitional strategies such as degrowth as solutions, challenging the narrative that such approaches would lead to societal collapse.

Each year, this studio course series engages students in using interdisciplinary approaches to provide strategies and designing concrete interventions for post-growth development. The studio works across diverse contexts, from the Nordic to the global, each with its unique set of challenges.


This semester, we will be envisioning a climate altered post-growth future in Ukraine, in collaboration with the Kharkiv School of Architecture, focusing on Lviv and the Levandivka, Pryvokzalna, and Klepariv districts. With the ongoing war, Ukraine is faced most acutely with humanitarian suffering and destruction of built and natural environments. Through the lens of post-growth, you will investigate whether the devastation of the war can be used as a starting point to foster a transition society, critically reassessing the way we build communities, how we live in them, use environments, and interact with landscapes. Levandivka, Pryvokzalna, and Klepariv are characterised by housing, as well as disbanded railway infrastructure and production plants. In an uncertain future, localised production and distribution can help foster resilience. But this needs to happen in ways that build on climactic, ecological, and social stability.


Climate change requires that we take our skills beyond business-as-usual models, reclaiming the future through new ways of living on a damaged planet. What can we bring with us into the future in terms of spatial practices, cultural heritage, social norms, and structures, what will be left behind, what will have to be different, and how will it all need to be reassembled? Through your education at AHO you are trained to envision things that are not yet. You are trained to be expert storytellers, dreaming up bold new possibilities, providing hope within an increasingly limited future. We will explore spatial strategies to foster a transitional society and visualise what these may look like. Can radical realities be envisioned that are acceptable to people who are concerned with immediate needs? What options do we have when we must respond to inevitable climate change? Despite slow action, there is agreement in government, municipal, and private sectors that climate change and its complexity demand increased climate preparedness and more interdisciplinary solutions. This means that we need to work together across fields and geographies through strategic processes to suggest real life interventions that matter. This course will provide you with concrete tools, ways of thinking, and deliverables to take on such tasks.

Learning outcome


  • Acquire an in depth understanding of how transitional thinking applies to our fields, and how it can be applied differently in a variety of contexts.
  • Assess ways in which to approach complexity, ambiguities, and severe situations and suggest interventions.
  • Recognise the connectedness between climate change, landscapes, built environments, political instability, and social disparities.
  • Put into perspective the roles of architects, urbanists, landscape architects, and designers in crisis situations and preparedness building.



  • Gather, analyse, and present complex data and information. Defining concrete problems in complex settings, creating interdisciplinary strategies for tackling such problems, and producing concrete, contextual design outputs.
  • Apply theories of transition discourse, climate justice, Southern and global urbanism, and post humanism in concrete suggestions for moving beyond the current state of affairs.
  • Learn to use scenarios building methods.

General competence:

  • Develop the ability to learn from, communicate, and collaborate with a range of actors, working in interdisciplinary teams to strengthen own profession and build on these towards new solutions.
  • Work in other cultures and in radically different futures.
  • Develop an understanding of changes that are increasingly affecting communities and natural landscapes across the globe including Nordic regions.
Working and learning activities

During the fall of 2024 The Kharkiv School of Architecture (KhSA) will be running a sister course for their students focusing on the Levandvika, Pryvokzalna, and Klepariv sites and new forms of production in the city. Running our courses in parallel allows for an exchange of knowledge, ideas, and insights. Due to the ongoing conflict we will not be able to travel to Ukraine, so our study and interaction will happen remotely. We will be having regular Zoom exchanges with the Ukrainian students and their sister studio course to showcase our respective work and receive important feedback from one another. The course is divided into four modules.

Module 1: Imagination without limitation

  • Suggesting an immediate design proposal: What might a climate altered post growth future in Lviv look like?
  • How does scenario building work?

Module 2: Knowledge building

  • What does climate research tell us about the future, and what are the drivers behind climate change? Lightning intervention 1: Revisit your design proposal.
  • What does post-growth mean, and what are its consequences? What other transition discourses exist? Lightning intervention 2: Revisit your design proposal.
  • What are the historical and current trends that have shaped Ukraine? Lightning intervention 3: Revisit your design proposal.

Module 3: Scenario building

  • Constructing a database
  • Defining a matrix
  • Building scenarios

Module 4: Designing radical realities

  • Strategies for future societies
  • Rethinking design proposals

Students will be assessed on their active participation and contribution in all four modules. As the course teaches students a process for how to work, it is necessary to complete a module before moving on to the next. All assignments are team based.

Students are required to present their work at the end of each module as a team, in addition to keeping an up-to-date process sketchbook showcasing their individual contribution to the interdisciplinary collaboration through each module.


Form of assessmentGroupingGrading scaleComment
Portfolio assessment (Vurderingsmappe)-Pass / failFinal assessment of work carried out in all four modules based on the student’s ability to investigate and analyse, ability to communicate, discuss with others, and work in an interdisciplinary environment, and ability to respond and produce collectively on the basis of analysis.
Form of assessment:Portfolio assessment (Vurderingsmappe)
Grading scale:Pass / fail
Comment:Final assessment of work carried out in all four modules based on the student’s ability to investigate and analyse, ability to communicate, discuss with others, and work in an interdisciplinary environment, and ability to respond and produce collectively on the basis of analysis.