Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Regional sustainability: How useful are current tools of sustainability assessment at the regional scale?


Author Info

  • Graymore, Michelle L.M.
  • Sipe, Neil G.
  • Rickson, Roy E.
Registered author(s):


    Sustainability assessment methods are primarily aimed at global, national or state scales. However, modelling sustainability at finer spatial scales, such as the region, is essential for understanding and achieving sustainability. Regions are emerging as an essential focus for sustainability researchers, natural resource managers and strategic planners working to develop and implement sustainability goals. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of current sustainability assessment methods - ecological footprint, wellbeing assessment, ecosystem health assessment, quality of life and natural resource availability - at the regional scale. Each of these assessment methods are tested using South East Queensland (SEQ) as a case study. It was selected because of its ecological and demographic diversity, its combination of coastal and land management issues, and its urban metropolitan and rural farm and non-farm communities. The applicability of each of these methods to regional assessment was examined using an evaluation criteria matrix, which describes the attributes of an effective method and the characteristics that make these methods useful for regional management and building community capacity to progress sustainability. We found that the methods tested failed to effectively measure progress toward sustainability at the regional scale, demonstrating the need for a new method for assessing regional sustainability.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 67 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 3 (October)
    Pages: 362-372

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:67:y:2008:i:3:p:362-372

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page:

    Related research

    Keywords: Sustainability assessment Regional sustainability Sustainability indicators Natural resource management;


    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Reed, Mark S. & Fraser, Evan D.G. & Dougill, Andrew J., 2006. "An adaptive learning process for developing and applying sustainability indicators with local communities," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(4), pages 406-418, October.
    2. Alison Todes, 2004. "Regional planning and sustainability: limits and potentials of South Africa's integrated development plans," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(6), pages 843-861.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Petra W├Ąchter & Michael Ornetzeder & Harald Rohracher & Anna Schreuer & Markus Knoflacher, 2012. "Towards a Sustainable Spatial Organization of the Energy System: Backcasting Experiences from Austria," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(2), pages 193-209, February.
    2. Graymore, M.L.M. & Sipe, Neil G. & Rickson, Roy E., 2010. "Sustaining Human Carrying Capacity: A tool for regional sustainability assessment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 459-468, January.
    3. James K. Lein, 2014. "Toward a Remote Sensing Solution for Regional Sustainability Assessment and Monitoring," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(4), pages 2067-2086, April.
    4. Wallis, Anne M. & Graymore, Michelle L.M. & Richards, Anneke J., 2011. "Significance of environment in the assessment of sustainable development: The case for south west Victoria," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(4), pages 595-605, February.
    5. Michelle L. M. Graymore, 2014. "Sustainability Reporting: An Approach to Get the Right Mix of Theory and Practicality for Local Actors," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(6), pages 3145-3170, May.
    6. van Zeijl-Rozema, Annemarie & Ferraguto, Ludovico & Caratti, Pietro, 2011. "Comparing region-specific sustainability assessments through indicator systems: Feasible or not?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 475-486, January.


    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:67:y:2008:i:3:p:362-372. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.