Johnstone, I.M., 1979. Ekistics and energetics: a sustainable future planning approach.
Urban Ecol., 4: 227-233.

Future planning involves the self-reflexive assumption of mankind’s continued survival.
The study of Steady State settlement patterns based upon sustainable energy sources
provides an epistemological framework within which to base transition planning
strategies. One synthetic and holistic approach to Steady State involves the fusion of
Ekistics and Energetics. An immediate, subsequent outcome is the Growth and Steady
State settlement pattern matrix. A task of future planners would be to quantify and
refine this matrix while simultaneously constructing a parallel planning strategy matrix
which is internally consistent.
In 1978 a small group of students at the Auckland Architectural School,
New Zealand, under the supervision of Associate-Professor Cam McClean,
made an undergraduate thesis study of Low Energy Settlements in New
Zealand. Although various energy forecast studies, such as ‘Energy Scenarios
for New Zealand’ by Dr Garth Harris et al. and ‘Goals and Guidelines: An
Energy Strategy for New Zealand’ by the Ministry of Energy have been made
before, the students’ contribution is unique in that it is the first holistic
approach towards preparing for a sustainable low energy future made in
New Zealand. Each student concentrated on a particular aspect of human
settlements while at the same time participating in a group ‘think tank’. Some areas of study led to more conventional conclusions while others – in
particular Leslie Mathews’s chosen topic of agriculture, a key factor – led to
a group consensus that settlement spatial patterns would ultimately need to
change with the advent of a diminishing supply of easily accessible high-
grade energy.
My own thesis concentrated on the Context of a sustainable low energy
future. Having read the usual ecology books of the late nineteen sixties and
early nineteen seventies I initially thought that Steady State could simply be
summed up as being ZPG (Zero Population Growth) and ZEG (Zero
Economic Growth, or more correctly, Zero Energy Growth). Upon starting
the thesis I was dismayed when there were few solid research articles direct-
ly related to Steady State to be found in New Zealand. The majority of
books published before 1973 were not written with a full awareness of the
subtle complexities and inter-relationships of the energy problem, and many
before and after represented a reductionist viewpoint of the problems that
we face in the future. To my knowledge, the first comprehensive treatise
on Steady State has yet to be written. This is, perhaps, not so surprising
because the information explosion has created a trend towards specialisation,
reductionism, and fragmentation rather than towards a synthetic and holistic
overview. A major step in the right direction is C.H. Waddington’s contribu-
tions to a sustainable future – ‘Tools for Thought’ and ‘The Man-Made
Future’ – which are written in a style of exceptional clarity easily assimilat-
ed by the general public.

For detailed reading:-


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