3 Dystopian Worlds3 Dystopian Worlds


There’s masking tape on your webcam. You’ve disabled your phone’s GPS. And Alexa is in the bin where she belongs.

But let’s face it, one day the robots will rule. Here’s three dystopian worlds IRL.


Charleroi, Belgium

Charleroi… the name conjures up images of a fairytale French town with baroque architecture. But that name’s misleading, cos Charleroi is actually the ugliest city in Europe, certified.

It’s industrial to the point of post-apocalyptic, with abandoned factories, ghost metros and warehouses-turned-theatres. And it’s all in its charm. Frolic round Matrix-like abandoned cooling plants and take a tour of the most depressing street in all of Belgium. Plus, there’s Europe’s biggest photography museum 👌



A certain mankini-wearing presenter gave the world the impression that Kazakhstan’s kinda… backwards. But Astana, the capital, is actually a sci-fi mirage full of golden dystopian architecture.

One of its main attractions is a crazy-big tent that stays warm even when the weather outside drops to a nip-cracking −50°C. It’s got a drop tower, flume ride, monorail and beach inside. Of course.

Le Havre

Le Havre, France

Le Havre looks post-apocalyptic cos it kind of is. This French harbour town rose from the flames of WW2 like a butt-ugly phoenix. The architect who rebuilt the place, Auguste Perret, became known as ‘the poet of reinforced concrete’. Burrrrrn. To be fair to the lad, UNESCO has since declared it a world-heritage site, presumably during someone’s first day at the job.

You can’t miss Le Volcan, a giant library, theatre and concrete hang-place. Les bains des docks swimming pool is another white concrete wonder - plus it hosts late night tango dances on special evenings ✌