The looseness of the concept and its theoretical underpinnings have enabled the use of the phrases ‘sustainable development’ and ‘sustainability’ to become de rigueur for politicians and business leaders, but as the Workshop on Urban Sustainability of the US National Science Foundation (2000, p. 1) pointed out, sustainability is ‘laden with so many definitions that it risks plunging into meaninglessness, at best, and becoming a catchphrase for demagogy, at worst. [It] is used to justify and legitimate a myriad of policies and practices ranging from communal agrarian utopianism to large-scale capital-intensive market development’.