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Assessing the Geographic Expression of Urban Sustainability: A Scenario Based Approach Incorporating Spatial Multicriteria Decision Analysis

Author(s): Walter W. Kropp | James K. Lein

Journal: Sustainability
ISSN 2071-1050

Volume: 4;
Issue: 9;
Start page: 2348;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: scenario analysis | multicriteria decision making | urban land use | planning

Urban sustainability involves a re-examination of urban development including environmental, social and economic policies and practices that acknowledge the role of cities in global environmental change. However, sustainability remains a broadly defined concept that has been applied to mean everything from environmental protection, social cohesion, economic growth, neighborhood design, alternative energy, and green building design. To guide sustainability initiatives and assess progress toward more sustainable development patterns this construct requires a means to place this concept into a decision-centric context where change can be evaluated and the exploitation of resources, the direction of investment, the orientation of technological development, and institutional programs can be made more consistent with future as well as present needs. In this study the problem of sustainability assessment was examined and a method that couples scenario analysis with spatial multicriteria decision analysis was introduced. The integration of a spatial multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) model for sustainable development with scenario planning resulted in an interpretation of sustainability that is more appropriate for local conditions and useful when exploring sustainability’s semantic uncertainties, particularly those alternate perspectives that influence future environments.
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