Tuesday 20 August 2013

Sustainable Development Trajectories

The World Wildlife Fund have combined the Human Development Index and Ecological Footprint in to graph as shown below (World Wild Life Fund, 2006). This shows that countries in Europe and North America have very high Ecological Footprints and acceptable Human Development Indexes (above 0.8), while countries in Africa have unacceptably low Human Development Indexes (below 0.8) but have Ecological Footprints within the biosphere’s allowable capacity per person.

The graph also indicates national development trajectories (the lines between the diamonds and dots). For example, the trajectory of the USA has been steep, with a large increase in their ecological footprint and relatively limited improvement in their Human Development Index in the last 20 years. In contrast, Hungary, over the same time period, has improved their Human Development Index to achieve the minimum sustainability criteria and, at same time, reduced their ecological footprint.

This suggests that strategies based on an understanding of current HDI and EF performance can support a shift towards sustainability (Moran et al, 2008). This is supported by Holden and Linnerud, who argue through reference to purchasing price parity and ecological footprint measures, that developing and developed countries require different strategies to achieve sustainability (Holden &Linnerud, 2007)

There is therefore a strong argument that built environment development strategies should respond to local EF and HDI performance and, through appropriate provision, support sustainable development trajectories. 

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