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