Handbook of Sustainable Development Planning
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Handbook of Sustainable Development Planning

Studies in Modelling and Decision Support

Edited by M. A. Quaddus and M. A.B. Siddique

This authoritative Handbook comprehensively examines the current status and future directions of model-based systems in decision support and their application to sustainable development planning.
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Chapter 2: Hierarchical, Dynamic Modelling and Sustainable Development

Ian Moffatt


Ian Moffatt Introduction The term ‘sustainable development’ gained international prominence with the publication of Our Common Future – the so-called Brundtland Report – in 1987 (WCED, 1987). The term has spawned a long debate over its precise meaning and over one hundred definitions are currently in use (Pezzey, 1992; Moffatt, 1996). A consensus is slowly forming that sustainable development refers to the processes by which sound economic systems can operate well within the biophysical constraints of the ecosystem to provide a good quality of life that is socially just for current and future generations. Whilst the debate on the ways of making this view operational continue at different spatial and temporal scales, for example, globally, nationally, regionally and locally, numerous individuals and groups are involved in trying to make development sustainable. Similarly, policy-makers, having agreed to the idea of sustainable development at the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992 and at the recent World Summit on Sustainable Develoment in Johannesburg in 2002, are now attempting to develop strategies to move societies onto sustainable paths of development. One way of contributing to this goal is to use some of the many different mechanisms described in Local Agenda 21 (UNCED, 1992). As a contribution to making development sustainable several research groups have been attempting to develop models as decision-making aids to assist this ongoing process (Meadows et al., 1972 et seq.; Moffatt 1996). The purpose of this chapter is to describe one attempt to model sustainable development as a...

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