Journal Article Measuring Sustainability for Rural Settlement Development: Environmental Balance Assessment Based on the Ecological Footprint

Chen, He  ,  Taniguchi, Mamoru

142 ( 4 )  , p.04016020 , 2016-12 , American Society of Civil Engineers
Rural areas support urban areas by preserving natural environments such as forests and agricultural food products. However, because of urbanization after the high-growth period, the ecological balance has deteriorated because of land development, abandonment of cultivation, automobile dependency, and similar factors. This study assessed an improved method of calculating the ecological footprint (EF) value, which assigns a rating for environmental balance in rural areas. Residents’ consumption is calculated based on the environmental load (cultivation, CO2emission, and similar loads) that residents generate during daily life activities. A case study of Tsukuba city in Ibaraki Prefecture reveals a wide distribution of traditional settlements for which this system can determine the environmental balance. Analysis of the case study shows: (1) environmental productivity and consumption capacity differed greatly according to the advancement of urban development, and (2) only a few settlements, located in forested areas, are ecologically balanced.

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