This report is on how urban systems interrelate with the surrounding regions. According to the report, the effects of urban establishments are often misrepresented as damaging to the surrounding eco-systems. This is because if people moved towards rural areas, these effects would only be dispersed but not reduced. The report cites poor urban development management as the main destructor of eco systems.
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On the relationship between urban systems and rural lands, the article notes that urban development alters the rural settings. An example of how the development of urban Chicago changed eco systems is used to drive this point home.
Primarily, urban development changes the demands on the land. For example, demand for agricultural products may result in overuse of land. The research also points out that some urban development can have a positive impact on the eco systems. For instance, urban developments in desert areas can reduce the effects of desertification.
The article also explores the interrelation between water systems and urban development. Water sources benefit urban development in two ways; providing a means of transport and meeting an area’s water demands. Water demands for urban areas can interrupt natural water flows albeit unintentionally.
The article points out at factors that may influence this interrelationship. These include how the demand for water changes the upstream water flow, how usual upstream demands affect urban developments downstream, and how upstream urban development affects those in the downstream.
According to this research, it is no longer mandatory to put up an urban development only close to a water source. Water for urban use can be sourced from far. The eco system of coastal areas is worst affected by urban development because it encompasses dunes, wetlands, and coral reefs. The positive thing about urban development is that it makes it easier to recycle water and avoid pollution.
The research also covers the eco system pressures created by urban systems. It is observed that a twentieth century urban development affects eco system pressures even beyond its geographical scope.
The main burden to eco systems is the pressure imposed by the consumption and waste management required to support the lifestyles of the affluent urban dwellers. Increased trade in urban areas also contributes to these eco system pressures. In addition, urban systems are more exposed to global warming effects.
The report also addresses issues of ecological footprints and urban sustainability multiplier. Ecological footprint refers to the amount of pressure imposed on the eco system by a certain population. This measure allows effects of different urban developments to be compared.
Population, living standards, effectiveness of resource management, and an area’s productivity are all determinants of the size of ecological footprint. Research indicates that the ecological footprint of modern cities is about two times higher than that of the rest of their geographical surroundings.
Urban sustainability multiplier refers to the energy and material requirements necessary to keep an urban establishment running. Several factors contribute to the urban sustainability multiplier.
These include; dense populations, lower costs of amenities, availability of multiple family dwelling units, recycling abilities among others. All these factors are determinants of urban sustainability multiplier.
This article was jointly authored by various renowned scholars and published under the center for sustainability studies initiative. The article is a study that provides a simple framework for accounting global and national natural capital.
It uses a method that was employed in Italy. This method tracks an economy’s energy and resource output with the aim of translating the area’s biological productivity. Through such a framework, the human consumption can be correlated with national or global level production using ecological footprint measure as a base.
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According to the article, sustainability is now a main priority for national governments. A nation’s ecological footprint is calculated as the impact a nation’s population survival has on natural capital. This is in terms of areas of production and waste management.
This study accounts for the national footprint of fifty-two countries that account for eighty percent of the world’s population, and produce ninety-five per cent of the world’s GDP. The data used was collected in the year 1993.
The study’s results indicate that the amount of pollution caused by bio chemical fuel use is not counteracted. This is because there is no adequate green cover to absorb the emitted carbon dioxide. The study also found out that nearly almost all viable arable land is under cultivation.
In addition, out of the total five point one billion hectares of land, the wooded part is only one point seven billion. This translates into an average of zero point nine hectares per person. The findings present a glimpse of just how much eco can be assigned to each global citizen.
These show that each citizen has around two point three hectares of land. This area is also supposed to support thirty million other different species. The limitations of this study included incomplete and inconsistent data sourced from the United Nations.
The article concludes by reiterating that this is a cheap and effective means of conducting a capital appraisal for any country. However, the article notes that this is not a way to measure the quality of life for any population.
Wackernagel, Matthis et al. “National Natural Capital Accounting with the Ecological Footprint Concept.” Ecological Economics 29 (1999): 375–390. Print.