Theoretical Appraisal of Sustainability Metrics and Empirical Application to an Irish City-region to Assess Current and Future Sustainability

David Anthony Browne


The purpose of this paper is to appraise a myriad of sustainability measurement methodologies, using a number of criteria, including strengths and weaknesses, data requirements, outputs and applicability at various spatial and temporal scales. The main criterion was the ability to measure and monitor sustainability of a sub-national settlement and to facilitate scenario building in order to assess the likelihood of current policy measures achieving sustainability in the selected city-region. The methods that were selected and empirically applied to the case-study, i.e. the Limerick city-region are urban metabolism, carbon and ecological footprinting and trend to target assessment. The aim of the research is to develop the optimal policy mix, which will help guide the city-region along a more sustainable trajectory and highlight trends in critical indicators and sectors, commonalities, feedback loops and leverage points in the policy-making process.

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