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Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 349; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020349

Exploring the Strengths and Limits of Strong and Weak Sustainability Indicators: A Case Study of the Assessment of China’s Megacities with EF and GPI

1
Smart City Research Center of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou Dianzi University, Hangzhou 310012, China
2
Institute of Ecological Planning and Landscape Design, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
Received: 30 December 2017 / Revised: 21 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
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Abstract

The perspective of strong/weak sustainability has a great impact on sustainability assessment. In this study, two most widely used indices, Ecological Footprint (EF) and Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) for strong and weak sustainability assessment, were employed to evaluate the sustainability of China’s ten megacities between 1978 and 2015. The results showed that the ecological footprint had been enlarged in the past twenty years; while the genuine economic welfare started to increase since 2005. The cities of Xi’an, Chengdu, Chongqing, and Shanghai met the threshold of below 2.5 global hectares for EF/capita, and over 3000 dollars/capita (in 2010 US$) for GPI/capita. By analyzing and comparing the characteristics, the processes and results, and the complementary features of evaluation methods of EF and GPI, the research suggested that: (1) Strong and weak sustainability indicators, with their own pros/cons in sustainability assessment, should be used carefully; (2) Weak sustainability indicators could be analyzed from the perspective of strong sustainability; (3) Strong sustainability indicators need to be developed urgently. The results in this study could guide the selection of sustainability indicators, and help interpret the results of sustainability assessment. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability assessment; strong sustainability; weak sustainability; indicator/index; ecological footprint; Genuine Progress Indicator; megacity sustainability assessment; strong sustainability; weak sustainability; indicator/index; ecological footprint; Genuine Progress Indicator; megacity
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Huang, L. Exploring the Strengths and Limits of Strong and Weak Sustainability Indicators: A Case Study of the Assessment of China’s Megacities with EF and GPI. Sustainability 2018, 10, 349.

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