chapter  5
Planning in the Anthropocene
ByWilliam E. Rees
Pages 14

Planning for the Anthropocene should strive to re-conceive cities—or better, urban regions—as self-renewing, regenerative human ecosystems. Residents' demand for food, fibre and energy should be supplied as much as possible by 'domestic' production systems driven by photosynthesis and renewable energy technologies. To understand the economic process as a circular flow while ignoring unidirectional energy and material throughput is to think of a living body in terms of the circulatory system with no reference to the digestive tract. Classical economics considered land, labour and capital to be three essential factors of production. However, finance capital and knowledge are now perceived as the drivers of economic growth in advanced countries, so neoliberal economists downplay the role of traditional labour and have eliminated 'land' from their production functions altogether. Ecological economics recognizes the thermodynamic imperative of limiting the material scale of the economic process to something less than regenerative/assimilative capacity of supporting ecosystems.