Environmental Economics & Policies; Regional Rural Development; Economic Theory & Research; Poverty Assessment; Health Economics & Finance
Summary: The concept of sustainable development has been discussed intensively at a global level in the past few years. This paper investigates sustainable development in a practical planning context by introducing and outlining the notion of regional sustainable develoment (RSD) - a translation and operationalization of sustainable development on a regional scale. Implicit in RSD is that it should always be compatible with global sustainability and that RSD of all regions of a spatial system implies sustainable development for the system as a whole. From a planning viewpoint, an identification of critical success factor (CSFs) is of crucial importance for RSD. A CSF is a necessary condition for balanced regional development that can be guided by policy intervention. In most cases, the notion of sustainable resource use (SRU) appears to provide a practical framework for identifying a CSF, because renewable stocks of natural resources are a key factor for RSD in most countries. CSFs may usually be found by investigating the regional supply of natural resources and using their features (exhaustible, renewable, accessible, multi-functional, and so on) to identify measurable indicators for RSD. The paper discusses and critically evaluates RSD models with regard to their design, specification, and use. In addition, it presents three case studies that may help clarify the notions of RSD, CSFs, and SRU and demonstrate their operational character in different regions: the Peel area in the Netherlands, the Sporades Islands in Greece, and rural land in Botswana. The paper concludes with retrospective review and a prospective exploration of important research questions.
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