Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2009, Brisbane, Australia, Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences

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The Carrying Capacity Imperative: Assessing regional carrying capacity methodologies for sustainable land-use planning

Murray Craig Lane

Abstract


The global impact of an ever-increasing population-base combined with dangerously depleted natural resources highlights the urgent need for changes in human lifestyles and land-use patterns. To achieve more equitable and sustainable land use, it is imperative that populations live within the carrying capacity of their natural assets in a manner more accountable to and ethically responsible for the land which sustains them. Our society’s very survival may well depend on worldwide acceptance of the carrying capacity imperative as a principle of personal, political, economic, educational and planning responsibility.

This theoretically-focussed research identifies, examines and compares a range of methodological approaches to carrying capacity assessment and considers their relevance to future spatial planning. It also addresses existing gaps in current methodologies and suggests avenues for improvement. A set of eleven key criteria are employed to compare various existing carrying capacity assessment models. These criteria include whole-systems analysis, dynamic responses, levels of impact and risk, systemic constraints, applicability to future planning and the consideration of regional and local boundary delineation.

This research finds that while some existing methodologies offer significant insights into the assessment of population carrying capacities, a comprehensive model is yet to be developed. However, it is suggested that by combining successful components from various authors, and collecting a range of interconnected data, a practical and workable systems-based model may be achievable in the future.

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