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Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1819-1839;

Quantitative Evaluation of Settlement Sustainability Policy (QESSP); Forward Planning for 26 Irish Settlements

Environment Department, Limerick City and County Council, County Hall, Dooradoyle, Limerick, Ireland
South West Regional Planning Authority, Innishmore, Ballincollig, Co. Cork, Ireland
Department of Chemical and Environmental Science, Centre for Environmental Research, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 10 November 2014 / Accepted: 5 February 2015 / Published: 10 February 2015
Full-Text   |   PDF [1121 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]   |  


Urban areas are increasingly associated with negative environmental impacts due to concentrated resource consumption; however urban areas also offer economies of scale in terms of service provision. There is no accepted mechanism to aid decision-makers in policy selection to determine where to promote population growth or how to select settlement specific policies to improve sustainability of urban areas. There is strong political desire for methods assessing policy implementation impact on overall sustainability targets, but this has proved challenging, as views on the meaning of sustainability vary, and methods developed satisfying scientists’ needs for rigor are deemed too complex and inadequately transparent by decision-makers. Sustainability measurement is vital to check whether a new policy, decision or technical innovation is helpful in enhancing sustainability. By 2055 estimates indicate that 75 percent of the world population will live in urban areas, highlighting the importance of promoting low cost policy decisions providing greatest environmental benefit, with short implementation timescale. This paper describes an evidence-based method developed and piloted to address these drivers and provide a decision support system for planners and policy-makers developed for Irish settlements with population range 500–20,000, which may have application elsewhere. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban planning; sustainable development; policy making urban planning; sustainable development; policy making

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Fitzgerald, B.G.; O'Doherty, T.; Moles, R.; O'Regan, B. Quantitative Evaluation of Settlement Sustainability Policy (QESSP); Forward Planning for 26 Irish Settlements. Sustainability 2015, 7, 1819-1839.

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