An ecosystem services based environmental sustainability assessment tool for land use plans

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The mostly used and agreed sustainability definition is maybe the first one made by United Nations World Conference on Environmental Development (1987) in the Brundtland Report stating that sustainability is a development approach that enables progress today without compromising from the abilities of future generations to develop themselves. There is a consensus that human activities must be sustainable and meanwhile there has to be fixed level of disruption of resources based on human activities that reduces the ability of this capital to sustain for the humanity in the future (Arrow, 1995). In this aspect, land use planning is one of the most critical tool that shapes our living environment by setting the limits of development and urbanization. Hence planning process itself is an important factor in sustainable development. After a detailed literature review including several researches in the fields of landscape planning, landscape ecology, environmental impact assessment, ecosystem management Leitao and Ahern remark that sustainable land use planning is an inevitable conclusion of the evolution of the planning discipline into the 21st century where new social values such as the key concepts of sustainability (solidarity between present and future generations and the need to balance development with nature) are increasingly being seized upon into planning process and regulations (2002). In addition, there are various scientists claiming that sustainability is one of the integral parts of the landscape planning process (Forman, 1995; Grossman and Bellot, 1999). However it has been observed that planning discipline wasn’t rapid enough to fit into the principles of ecology and therefore sustainability must be adopted more efficiently in planning process and administrating lands for which new tools are required (Leitao and Ahern, 2002) since its spatial component is strongly related to inter-dependence of land uses and to spatial processes such as fragmentation (van Lier, 1998).
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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