eCite Digital Repository

Citizens' views of Australia's future to 2050


Boschetti, F and Fulton, EA and Grigg, NJ, Citizens' views of Australia's future to 2050, Sustainability, 7, (1) pp. 222-247. ISSN 2071-1050 (2015) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 the Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.3390/su7010222


In four focus group exercises involving both forecasting and backcasting approaches, we gave approximately 100 Australian citizens the opportunity to discuss likely, desirable and feared futures to 2050. The image they paint is both coherent and consistent. Education, governance, personal attitudes and societal trends, rather than specific events, are drivers of a future which is perceived as being largely shaped by human choices. Innovation is believed to be more necessary in novel social arrangements than in further technology. The most feared futures arise from an amplification of trends already at play in the present: economic growth at the expense of the environment and quality of life, lack of equity, poor government, corporate greed, commercialism and erosion of social values. Economic and material growth does not feature in the most desired futures which are local, inclusive, peaceful, equitable and in some cases frugal. The visions and scenarios developed find a place within established foresight frameworks and global political narratives, but seem to lie at the fringe of current media and short-term political discourse. These results should not be interpreted as representative of the overall Australian population, but suggest that extending the analysis to the broader community could provide significant insights and enrich the discussion of important societal choices.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australia's future, climate change, economic growth, future archetypes, future studies, narrative analysis, sustainability
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Human geography
Research Field:Social geography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Fulton, EA (Dr Elizabeth Fulton)
ID Code:118884
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2017-07-21
Last Modified:2017-08-22
Downloads:125 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page