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Modeling a policy making framework for urban sustainability: Incorporating system dynamics into the Ecological Footprint

By Wei Jin, Linyu Xu and Zhifeng Yang


The Ecological Footprint (EF) is a powerful tool to advance the science of sustainability. However, the static snapshot of EF accounting is not designed to make projections of future sustainability consequences, which fails to elicit policy implications from a dynamic, temporally explicit perspective. This work attempts to incorporate system dynamics (SD) into EF to develop a dynamic EF forecasting framework, and provide a platform to support policy making for urban sustainability improvement. SD is firstly adopted to model the dynamics and interactions of EF driving forces, and then incorporated into the EF framework by correlating system drivers to EF-related consumption categories, embodied EF is finally calculated using the compound-based method. Based on different policy feasibility and sustainability targets, four policy scenarios are designed to explore future sustainability prospects and formulate integrated policies which would attain that sustainability scenario. The modeling procedure is applied to a case study area to illustrate how it works, and policy making for urban sustainability can hopefully be supported using this developed framework in the near future.Urban sustainability System dynamics Ecological Footprint Scenarios analysis China

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