The UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been conceived as a global roadmap for peace, dignity, and prosperity on a healthy planet (UNDP 2016). The SDGs challenge the dominant notion of prosperity as material wealth measured by GDP and rising household incomes; instead prosperity is reframed as a shared condition to be weighed alongside ending poverty, tackling inequalities, and safeguarding the environment. Cities are identified as having a critical role in generating and equitably distributing prosperity on these terms. Reframing prosperity in this way opens up space for new forms of dialogue about what it means for people everywhere to prosper, asking how material wealth, other forms of value, equity, and fairness, and the needs of humans and nonhumans are differentially understood and acted on. Yet this article argues that prosperity is understudied and undertheorized by social scientists. A new research agenda, driven by empirical studies in diverse urban contexts, must form the basis for new theoretical insights and policy formation that will drive action on prosperity in the years to come. Presenting new empirical work from community‐led research in three east London neighborhoods, the article examines prosperity as a lived experience in comparison to policy goal, demonstrating how context‐specific meanings and practices challenge the orthodox models and metrics that currently dominate policymaking. The authors demonstrate how situated and engaged research with local residents and citizen scientists provides the basis for developing new prosperity metrics that reflect issues of specific value and concern to individuals and communities in east London.
The independent review on The Economics of Biodiversity led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta has now been delivered to the government. The report underlines our failure to grasp that our economies are “embedded within Nature, and not external to it.” We rely on nature to “provide us with food, water and shelter; regulate our climate and disease; maintain nutrient cycles and oxygen production; and provide us with spiritual fulfilment and opportunities for recreation and recuperation which can enhance our health and well-being.”Read More
On 4 August 2020, a massive explosion at Beirut’s port killed at least 200 people and caused up to $15bn in damage to buildings and infrastructure – including the destruction of the public electricity company building. It was the latest blow for a country battling a 30-year energy crisis and facing chronic shortages as a result of an ageing infrastructure based around fossil fuels.Read More
In 1945, the UK’s welfare state was set up to address the want, need and misery caused by unemployment. Seventy-five years later, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had almost full employment in the UK – and yet we still have massive levels of poverty and precarity experienced by people in work.Read More