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Spatial modelling of sustainability indicators and policy implications for sustainable development across the three regions of Ireland

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dc.contributor.advisor O'Regan, Bernadette
dc.contributor.advisor Moles, Richard Donlan, Jennifer 2011-11-29T17:25:10Z 2011-11-29T17:25:10Z 2010
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract National policy has aimed at making development more sustainable. However, successful movement towards this goal is not well documented. Some shortcomings in the move towards more sustainable development are the result of unexpected outcomes with regard to policy goals and behaviour. Some previously accepted relationships between indicators are now coming into question. A better understanding of the relationships between infrastructure, behaviour, environment and attitudes is needed to improve the ability of policies to increase the sustainability of settlements. The EPA-Funded project Sustainability and Future Settlement Patterns in Ireland (SFSPI) conducted at the University of Limerick’s Centre for Environmental Research (CER) examined the relative sustainability of 79 Irish settlements (cities, towns, and villages) across three regions of Ireland (Sligo, Midlands, and Limerick). The resulting database contains 43 sustainable development indicators and indices for environmental, socio-economic, quality of life, and transport domains. The SFSPI database also produced Ecological Footprints (EF), and component footprints for energy, waste, water, food, and transport for each study settlement. This research, designed to complement the SFSPI project, used the SFSPI database to explore spatial relationships between settlements and sustainable development indicators. The focus of this research was local and regional effects on the sustainability of the study settlements and spatial variations in the relationships between indicators. A Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) technique was used to explore spatial variations in the relationships between sustainable development indicators. Many relationships between sustainable development indicators were found to vary in nature or magnitude across regions. Spatial variation was present in nine of the 37 GWR models analyzing the combined affects of population change, distance to gateway and services index on the sustainable development indicators. Statistically significant spatial variation in individual parameter estimates between two variables (one of the independent variables and the dependant variable) was found in five of the 37 GWR models tested. Using GWR results in comparison to results from the previous SFSPI results showed very important differences. Within SFSPI the relationships between variables were analysed by traditional linear regression techniques, using data on all 79 settlements without regard to their location, seeking average relationships for all settlements. However, in this study, including location in the analysis resulted in findings which showed up significant variation in both the magnitude, and in some cases the sign (positive or negative) of the relationships. Such patterns have not been reported previously in the literature. A Geographic Information System (GIS) and a custom built scenario tool were used to model and visualize policy scenarios. A scenario tool within the GIS was developed to simulate the relative effects of policies on the EFs of a settlement, group of settlements, or region. This research developed a tool to test various policies and policy mixes on a settlement or region in the study area, and automatically visualize scenario results in map format, illustrating how spatially explicit scenarios can be used to help develop strategies for meeting sustainable development targets. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher University of Limerick en_US
dc.subject sustainable development en_US
dc.subject Ireland en_US
dc.title Spatial modelling of sustainability indicators and policy implications for sustainable development across the three regions of Ireland en_US
dc.type Doctoral thesis en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_theses_dissertations en_US
dc.type.restriction none en

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