The Ecological Footprint
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The Ecological Footprint

New Developments in Policy and Practice

Andrea Collins and Andrew Flynn

The ecological footprint is one of the most prominent tools used to measure environmental sustainability, and its rise in academic and policy debates since the early 1990s has been remarkable. Drawing upon research and examples from around the world, the authors critically examine the claims made of the ecological footprint and how it has been applied in practice. This important book provides a unique insight into the ways in which environmental knowledge is used within organisations, and how it is able to carry authority in policy making processes.
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Chapter 3: Consumption and the city: the Ecological Footprint of Cardiff

Andrea Collins and Andrew Flynn


This chapter begins by describing the process developed to undertake Cardiff’s first Ecological Footprint study. Following this it then discusses the city’s Ecological Footprint results, those factors that have influenced the size of its Footprint, and how Cardiff Council has since used the results. The chapter then compares Cardiff’s Footprint results with those of other British, European and international cities. Finally, the chapter discusses how the ‘model’ process developed as part of the Cardiff Ecological Footprint project has been used to inform the approach of governments elsewhere. Cardiff is the capital city of Wales, and is ranked as the tenth-largest city in the UK (UK Cities 2011). In 2001, the year that Cardiff’s Ecological Footprint was first calculated, the city had a population of 307 300 residents, which accounted for approximately 10 per cent of the total population of Wales (2.9 million) (ONS 2001). Being the capital city of Wales, Cardiff is the centre for economic growth not only in South East Wales, but also for the country as a whole. In the last 10–15 years, Cardiff has witnessed a period of significant growth, including the development of retail, housing, leisure activities, and also the redevelopment of its Bay, which was a former docklands area. The city also boasts a thriving retail sector, and in 2008 was ranked ninth in a list of the top 20 UK retail towns and cities (Retail Week 2008), following closely behind other major UK cities such as Edinburgh, Leeds and Manchester.

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