The Downshifter’s Guide to a Resilient Future

By David Holmgren

Published in January 2018

Paperback  |  592 pages  | ISBN: 9780994392879

This book is a dance, a tango between our habits and our actions, our visions and our intentions.  RetroSuburbia boldly renovates what we know as our safety net and replaces it with an action plan; planning for the worst and hoping for the best.  The answers are in the everyday.  Let the transformation and retrofit begin.

Costa Georgiadis from the foreword to Retrosuburbia

Book Overview

There’s something about David Holmgren’s book, RetroSuburbia, that speaks to my heart.  Perhaps it’s the Aussie Street Soap Opera that threads its way through the pages.  Set in the suburbs from the 1950’s, the residents of Aussie Street experience the many changes that each decade brings to their lives. 

I think I feel a special connection because I was born in the 1950s and grew up in my own Aussie Street in the suburbs of Brisbane where I have vivid childhood memories of self-reliance and connected community.   In many ways my life has reflected the Aussie Street story.  I’ve seen and experienced the changes in Australian suburbs since that time, and now David Holmgren makes me feel empowered and optimistic about a resilient future. 

Aren’t we all craving real world ways to make an impact, and make our lives feel significant in the face of the global challenges we face?

David Holmgren

RetroSuburbia is a timely book that guides us to live abundantly in uncertain times.  Underpinned by Permaculture principles, it provides practical options for us to become more self-reliant and resilient as individuals, families and communities.

David Holmgren invites us on a journey of quiet revolution in our own homes and he provides real-world case studies and practical solutions for downshifting and retrofitting our lives and our homes.  He shows us that Australian suburbs can effectively be retrofitted for liveability, resilience and sustainability in an energy decent future through diverse strategies such as home food production and preservation, building retrofits and lifestyle changes.

The book is divided into three fields for action.

Built Field: Patterns of Human Habitats

  • This section focuses on the built environment and includes retrofitting our homes.

Biological Field: Patterns of Life and Growth

  • This section explores garden farming in the suburbs and includes growing our own food.

Behavioural Field: Patterns of Decision and Action  

  • This section focuses on people care and some key changes we can make in our own lives towards self-reliance and resilience.

The book is beautifully presented with detailed water-colour illustrations by Brenna Quinlan, accessible text and clear descriptions, real-life case-studies, and relevant  photographs.

Short Video

This short video introduces the book with David Holmgren explaining his purpose and motivation for writing RetroSuburbia.

Book Flip Though

Take the opportunity to flip through the pages of RetroSuburbia in the video below, including the beautiful water colour illustrations by Brenna Quinlan.

My RetroSuburbia Workshops and Events

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