Title: Assessing sustainability in a spatial and social context: some conceptual and empirical challenges

Authors: Michael Toman, Ronald Lile, Dennis King

Addresses: Resources for the Future, 1616 P Street NW, Washington DC 20036, USA. Resources for the Future, 1616 P Street NW, Washington DC 20036, USA. Resources for the Future, 1616 P Street NW, Washington DC 20036, USA

Abstract: This paper addresses two related conceptual and practical challenges in assessing sustainability. The first involves the social context, specifically the criteria and procedures to be used. The second involves the spatial context, specifically the problem of assessing sustainability when there are multiple and overlapping ||communities|| with multiple economic and ecological scales. With respect to the first issue, we build on previous contributions in discussing how multicriteria assessment strategies and stakeholder processes might be used. We also illustrate the use of various non-monetary measures of ecological capacity and performance to supplement economic information. The second issue remains less well understood, though our analysis highlights how economic and ecological capacity and performance measures can be applied at various scales.

Keywords: environmental indicators; integrated assessment; sustainable development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEP.1999.002301

International Journal of Environment and Pollution, 1999 Vol.12 No.4, pp.369-382

Available online: 15 Aug 2003

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article