Town Planning Review

Measuring sustainability

Town Planning Review (2015), 86, (4), 457–482.

Abstract

Planning for sustainability is high on many agendas, and tools to measure sustainability have been developed. Sustainable processes are those whose rates are maintained over time without exceeding the innate ability of its surroundings to support the process. We present the necessary conditions along with a new algorithm for measuring the sustainability of processes that integrates the laws of thermodynamics with laws for rate processes. The algorithm permits the assessment of the degree of sustainability of any process, whether ecological, economic, or social, as well as chemical or biological. It is a dynamic approach that applies at any scale and takes into consideration the spatial and temporal factors of processes, thus permitting empirical applications that correspond to real world (dynamic, complex, evolving) conditions across space and time. These characteristics make it especially suitable for applications in the field of spatial planning.

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Neuman, Michael

Churchill, Stuart W.