Vol. 5 No. 2 (2021)
Editor Reviewed Articles

Outside The City of Grace: appraising dystopia and global sustainability

David Wadley
The University of Queensland
Text-only image of the cover of this issue, grey green background.

Published 2021-08-01


  • Dystopia,
  • Systems Theory,
  • Labour Dynamics,
  • Economic and Demographic Growth,
  • Planetary Constraints,
  • IPAT
  • ...More

How to Cite

Wadley, David. 2021. “Outside The City of Grace: Appraising Dystopia and Global Sustainability”. The Journal of Population and Sustainability 5 (2):75–96. https://doi.org/10.3197/jps.2021.5.2.75.


'The City of Grace: An Urban Manifesto' (Wadley, 2020) models an ecotech settlement, aiming to achieve economic and social sustainability over a substantial period. The City is intended to be anti-dystopian and non-exclusive, with the possibility of replication in receptive settings. In this rejoinder to the book, the potential for dystopia attending population and sustainability issues in the outside world is appraised. Foundations are established in general systems, complexity and chaos theories, and an interpretation of procedural and substantive rationality. Two possible global failure modes are examined, one contained within the human sphere involving the future of capital and labour, and an external one founded in the familiar problematics of the human-environment nexus. Dilatory responses in advanced societies to these dilemmas are outlined. The subsequent prognosis regarding population and sustainability co-opts a meta-theory from environmental management to assess the viability of possible counterstrategies to dystopia although, in conclusion, its existence is instantiated.


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