Spatial systems approach to sustainable development: A conceptual framework
Development, Environment, Environmental accounting, Resource, Spatial System, Sustainability, Sustainable development
Even though "sustainable development" seems to have emerged as the development paradigm of the 1990s, a great deal of vagueness still surrounds the meaning, definition, and theoretical underpinnings of the concept. There is also a general lack of emphasis on the spatial dimension of sustainable development when developing relevant conceptual or environmental accounting frameworks. In clarifying the concept, this article proposes a definition that explicitly incorporates the temporal as well as the spatial dimension of sustainability. It also develops a logically consistent conceptual framework for the analysis and evaluation of sustainable development, following a spatial systems approach. Five interconnected aspatial subsystems or subsets of a spatial system are identified and their respective operational dimensions discussed. A proposed composite index called degree of stainable development (DSD) and its five component indicators are also outlined. The difficulties involved in operationalizing the DSD measure and the conceptual framework are noted, and the various tasks that need to be undertaken in this regard are specified. It is concluded that future research utilizing the proposed conceptual framework should not only foster the development of appropriate methodologies for the comparative evaluation of sustainable development at global, national, or regional scales, but also offer insights to appropriate decision makers at various levels regarding available options and alternative actions for the healthy development of their respective societies. © 1993 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
Niu, Wen Yuan; Lu, Jonathan J.; and Khan, Abdullah A., "Spatial systems approach to sustainable development: A conceptual framework" (1993). Faculty Publications. 4419.