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Sustainability 2013, 5(8), 3426-3446; doi:10.3390/su5083426

Sustainability Indicators Integrating Consumption Patterns in Strategic Environmental Assessment for Urban Planning

*  and
Department of Environmental Science, University of Milano-Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza 1, Milano 20126, Italy
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 May 2013 / Revised: 19 July 2013 / Accepted: 22 July 2013 / Published: 12 August 2013
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Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) practices in Europe have been traditionally applied to assess potential environmental impacts due to socio-economic drivers implying specific land use (viz. infrastructure, building and industrial development). However, other socioeconomic drivers related to citizen behavior, such as household consumption, may significantly contribute to the overall local impacts, but are usually neglected in SEA. Aiming at enlarging the traditional approaches adopted in SEA, the present study integrates two environmental sustainability indicators capturing different aspects of consumption patterns: ecological footprint and carbon balance. The two indicators are calculated in addition to a more traditional set of environmental indicators in order to: (i) understand if the level of consumption of the local community exceeds the limits of natural resources of the area (in a perspective of self-sustainment at the local scale); and (ii) identify the role of spatial planning choices in determining the environmental sustainability of the entire system. The two indicators are calculated and discussed in the context of the SEA of the urban master plans of four municipalities in northern Italy. The two indicators may represent a good proxy for lifestyle impacts, even if some strengths and weaknesses arose from the application to the case study.
Keywords: Strategic Environmental Assessment; ecological footprint; carbon balance Strategic Environmental Assessment; ecological footprint; carbon balance
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Castellani, V.; Sala, S. Sustainability Indicators Integrating Consumption Patterns in Strategic Environmental Assessment for Urban Planning. Sustainability 2013, 5, 3426-3446.

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