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Significance of environment in the assessment of sustainable development: The case for south west Victoria

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  • Wallis, Anne M.
  • Graymore, Michelle L.M.
  • Richards, Anneke J.
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    Abstract

    The assessment of sustainable development is often based on the three pillars of sustainability model using social, economic and environmental indicators. It is thought that by measuring the performance of each system, information can be gained about the sustainability of the whole system. However it seems there has been no attempt to evaluate if such an assumption is true. During the development of a sustainability assessment framework for south west Victoria, Australia, it has become evident that this approach to sustainability assessment does not provide an accurate assessment of system sustainability. The project found that environmental indicators were considered the most important for assessing regional sustainability. As a consequence, the assessment produced shows that in south west Victoria, sustainability is largely determined by the condition of the environment. This finding highlights the current disconnection between the theory and reality of sustainability. Here, we describe a framework for sustainability assessment that attempts to re-connect theory to practice.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 70 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 (February)
    Pages: 595-605

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:4:p:595-605

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

    Related research

    Keywords: Sustainability indicators Sustainable development Evaluation Models of sustainability Ecosystem based models;

    References

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    1. Bob Giddings & Bill Hopwood & Geoff O'Brien, 2002. "Environment, economy and society: fitting them together into sustainable development," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 187-196.
    2. Graymore, Michelle L.M. & Sipe, Neil G. & Rickson, Roy E., 2008. "Regional sustainability: How useful are current tools of sustainability assessment at the regional scale?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 362-372, October.
    3. Patrick McAlpine & Andrew Birnie, 2006. "Establishing sustainability indicators as an evolving process: experience from the island of Guernsey," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(2), pages 81-92.
    4. Stephen Morse & Nora McNamara & Moses Acholo & Benjamin Okwoli, 2001. "Sustainability indicators: the problem of integration," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(1), pages 1-15.
    5. Ness, Barry & Urbel-Piirsalu, Evelin & Anderberg, Stefan & Olsson, Lennart, 2007. "Categorising tools for sustainability assessment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 498-508, January.
    6. Marco Keiner, 2005. "Re-emphasizing sustainable development — The concept of ‘Evolutionability’," Environment, Development and Sustainability, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 379-392, January.
    7. Ruth Kelly & Richard Moles, 2002. "The Development of Local Agenda 21 in the Mid-west Region of Ireland: A Case Study in Interactive Research and Indicator Development," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(6), pages 889-912.
    8. Gustavson, Kent R. & Lonergan, Stephen C. & Ruitenbeek, H. Jack, 1999. "Selection and modeling of sustainable development indicators: a case study of the Fraser River Basin, British Columbia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 117-132, January.
    9. S. lópez-ridaura & H. Keulen & M. Ittersum & P. Leffelaar, 2005. "Multiscale Methodological Framework to Derive Criteria and Indicators for Sustainability Evaluation of Peasant Natural Resource Management Systems," Environment, Development and Sustainability, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 51-69, 01.
    10. Izac, A-M. N. & Swift, M. J., 1994. "On agricultural sustainability and its measurement in small-scale farming in sub-Saharan Africa," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 105-125, November.
    11. Rennings, Klaus & Wiggering, Hubert, 1997. "Steps towards indicators of sustainable development: Linking economic and ecological concepts," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 25-36, January.
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    Cited by:
    1. Lázaro-Touza, Lara & Atkinson, Giles, 2013. "Nature, roads or hospitals? An empirical evaluation of ‘sustainable development preferences’," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 63-72.

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