Handbook of Sustainable Development Planning
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Handbook of Sustainable Development Planning

Studies in Modelling and Decision Support, Second Edition

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

The thoroughly revised second edition of this authoritative Handbook, complete with new chapters, 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 3: Measuring sustainable development

Ian Moffatt


It is over 25 years since the term ‘sustainable development’ entered the lexicon of policy makers, educationalists, businesses and the public. The catalyst for this development was the publication of Our Common Future, often referred to as the Brundtland Report, named after its chairperson, the then prime minister of Norway (WCED, 1987). That report put sustainable development on the international political agenda and initiated a long discussion of, and encouraged research into, the ways in which the complex processes could be defined, promoted, measured and modelled. The purpose of this chapter is to examine some of the approaches to measuring sustainable development. The second section offers a brief discussion of definitions of, and concepts underlying, sustainable development. In particular we emphasize his triangle (Daly, 1977) of sustainable development as a useful way of conceptualizing what, to some, is a difficult concept to understand and put into practice.

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