Advertisement

Sustainability Science

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 217–228 | Cite as

Social and economic sustainability of urban systems: comparative analysis of metropolitan statistical areas in Ohio, USA

  • Alejandra M. González-Mejía
  • Tarsha N. Eason
  • Heriberto Cabezas
  • Makram T. SuidanEmail author
Technical Report

Abstract

The development of a comprehensive sustainability analysis tool for evaluating regional urban systems would present researchers, planners, and policy makers with a powerful tool to study and manage systems, with the goal of encouraging optimum social and economic trends, while maintaining long-term environmental protection that leads to sustainability. This article intends to aid in this effort by presenting a versatile methodology for assessing sustainability as a function of dynamic changes in significant characteristics of urban systems. Using statistical methods, this work presents a strategy for comparatively assessing the impact of social and economic characteristics on system stability at geographic scales which are critical to policy and management. Specifically, it employs the Fisher Information index as a measure of sustainability, in order to distinguish periods of stability. As an application of the approach, six Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in Ohio (Cincinnati, Dayton, Cleveland, Akron, Columbus, and Toledo) were evaluated for a regional sustainability assessment. Results from the multiyear analysis suggest two distinct periods in these MSAs: one characterized by 30 years of socio-economic growth (1970–1999) and another (2000–2009) denoting a change in the trajectory of each system found to be related to economic recession. Columbus was identified as the most stable and sustainable of the MSAs during the study period. In contrast, Toledo exhibited the largest changes in economic trends, as distinguished by excessive increases in the growth rate of vacant housing units, unemployed civilian labor force, and inhabitants below the poverty level (2000–2009). Since such conditions are not desirable for urban systems, they are indicative of movement towards an unsustainable future.

Keywords

Fisher Information index Sustainability indicator/metric Metropolitan statistical areas Urban system dynamics 

Supplementary material

11625_2013_227_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 15 kb)
11625_2013_227_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 14 kb)
11625_2013_227_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (XLSX 14 kb)
11625_2013_227_MOESM4_ESM.xlsx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (XLSX 14 kb)
11625_2013_227_MOESM5_ESM.xlsx (13 kb)
Supplementary material 5 (XLSX 12 kb)
11625_2013_227_MOESM6_ESM.xlsx (12 kb)
Supplementary material 6 (XLSX 12 kb)
11625_2013_227_MOESM7_ESM.xlsx (16 kb)
Supplementary material 7 (XLSX 15 kb)

References

  1. Bond AJ, Morrison-Saunders A (2010) Re-evaluating sustainability assessment: aligning the vision and the practice. Environ Impact Asses Rev 31:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brenner N (2009) What is critical urban theory? City 13:198–207. doi: 10.1080/13604810902996466 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) (2012) CA25N—Total full-time and part-time employment by NAICS industryGoogle Scholar
  4. Cabezas H, Fath BD (2002) Towards a theory of sustainable systems. Fluid Phase Equilibr 194–197:3–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cabezas H, Pawlowski CW, Mayer AL, Hoagland NT (2003) Sustainability: ecological, social, economic, technological, and systems perspectives. Clean Technol Envir Policy 5:167–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cabezas H, Pawlowski CW, Mayer AL, Hoagland NT (2005) Sustainable systems theory: ecological and other aspects. J Clean Prod 13:455–467CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cabezas H, Whitmore HW, Pawlowski CW, Mayer AL (2007) On the sustainability of an integrated model system with industrial, ecological, and macroeconomic components. Resour Conserv Recy 50:122–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Crabtree L (2006) Sustainability begins at home? An ecological exploration of sub/urban Australian community-focused housing initiatives. Geoforum 37:519–535CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Eason T, Cabezas H (2012) Evaluating the sustainability of a regional system using Fisher Information in the San Luis Basin, Colorado. J Environ Manage 94:41–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fath BD, Cabezas H (2004) Exergy and Fisher Information as ecological indices. Ecol Model 174:25–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fath BD, Cabezas H, Pawlowski CW (2003) Regime changes in ecological systems: an information theory approach. J Theor Biol 222:517–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) (2010) House Price Index Fourth Quarter 2009. Percent Change in House Prices with MSA RankingsGoogle Scholar
  13. Fisher RA (1922) On the mathematical foundations of theoretical statistics. Philos T R Soc Lond 222:309–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Frieden BR (1998) Physics from Fisher Information: a unification. Cambridge University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Frieden BR (2004) Science from Fisher Information: a unification. Cambridge University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gaquin DA (ed) (2009) 2009 County and City Extra. Annual Metro, City, and County Data Book, 17th edn. Bernan Press, LanhamGoogle Scholar
  17. GeoLytics, Inc. (2003) Census CD neighborhood change database (NCDB): 1970–2000 tract data: selected variables for US Census tracts for 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000. East Brunswick, NJGoogle Scholar
  18. Gonzalez-Mejia AM (2011) Fisher Information—Sustainability Analysis of Several US Metropolitan Statistical Areas. University of CincinnatiGoogle Scholar
  19. Gonzalez-Mejia AM, Eason TN, Cabezas H, Suidan MT (2012a) Assessing sustainability in real urban systems: the greater cincinnati metropolitan area in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Environ Sci Technol 46:9620–9629. doi: 10.1021/es3007904 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gonzalez-Mejia AM, Eason TN, Cabezas H, Suidan MT (2012b) Computing and interpreting Fisher Information as a metric of sustainability: regime changes in the United States air quality. Clean Technol Envir 14:775–788. doi: 10.1007/s10098-011-0445-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hopton ME, Cabezas H, Campbell D, Eason T, Garmestani AS, Heberling MT, Karunanithi AT, Templeton JJ, White D, Zanowick M (2010) Development of a multidisciplinary approach to assess regional sustainability. Int J Sust Dev World 17:48–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Karunanithi AT, Cabezas H, Frieden BR, Pawlowski CW (2008) Detection and assessment of ecosystem regime shifts from Fisher Information. Ecol Soc 13:22Google Scholar
  23. Karunanithi AT, Garmestani AS, Eason TN, Cabezas H (2011) The characterization of socio-political instability, development and sustainability with Fisher information. Global Environ Chang 21:77–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kates RW, Parris TM (2003) Long-term trends and a sustainability transition. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100:8062–8067CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mayer AL (2008) Strengths and weaknesses of common sustainability indices for multidimensional systems. Environ Int 34:277–291. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2007.09.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mayer AL, Pawlowski CW, Cabezas H (2006) Fisher Information and dynamic regime changes in ecological systems. Ecol Model 195:72–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mayer AL, Pawlowski CW, Fath BD, Cabezas H (2007) Applications of Fisher Information to the management of sustainable environmental systems. In: Frieden BR, Gatenby RA (eds) Exploratory data analysis using Fisher Information. Springer, London, pp 217–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McDonald A, Lane SN, Haycock NE, Chalk EA (2004) Rivers of dreams: on the gulf between theoretical and practical aspects of an upland river restoration. Trans Institute Brit Geogr 29:257–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McGranahan G, Marcotullio P (2006) Chapter 27 Urban Systems. In: Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Current State and Trends. Island Press, Washington, DC, pp 795–825Google Scholar
  30. Rico-Ramirez V, Reyes-Mendoza MA, Quintana-Hernandez PA, Ortiz-Cruz JA, Hernandez-Castro S, Diwekar UM (2010) Fisher information on the performance of dynamic systems. Ind Eng Chem Res 49:1812–1821CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Scheffer M, Bascompte J, Brock WA, Brovkin V, Carpenter SR, Dakos V, Held H, Van Nes EH, Rietkerk M, Sugihara G (2009) Early-warning signals for critical transitions. Nature 461:53–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Shastri Y, Diwekar U, Cabezas H (2008a) Optimal control theory for sustainable environmental management. Environ Sci Technol 42:5322–5328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Shastri Y, Diwekar U, Cabezas H, Williamson J (2008b) Is sustainability achievable? Exploring the limits of sustainability with model systems. Environ Sci Technol 42:6710–6716CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. United Nations (1987) Our Common Future. Towards Sustainable Development. World Commission on Environment and Development, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  35. US Census Bureau (2008) A compass for understanding and using American community survey data. What general data users need to know. Washington, DC, USAGoogle Scholar
  36. US Census Bureau (2010a) American Community Survey (ACS) 1-Year Estimates for Cincinnati city and Metropolitan Statistical AreaGoogle Scholar
  37. US Census Bureau (2010b) Metropolitan Statistical Areas and components, December 2009, with codes. Metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, and metropolitan divisions defined by the Office of Management and Budget, December 2009Google Scholar
  38. US Census Bureau (2010c) Table 20. Large Metropolitan Statistical Areas—Population: 1990 to 2009. US Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United StatesGoogle Scholar
  39. US Census Bureau (2011a) Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010. U.S. Department of CommerceGoogle Scholar
  40. US Census Bureau (2011b) Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009 (CBSA-EST2009-01)Google Scholar
  41. Zellner ML, Theis TL, Karunanithi AT, Garmestani AS, Cabezas H (2008) A new framework for urban sustainability assessments: linking complexity, information and policy. Comput Environ Urban Syst 32:474–488CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alejandra M. González-Mejía
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Tarsha N. Eason
    • 2
  • Heriberto Cabezas
    • 2
  • Makram T. Suidan
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Environmental Program, College of Engineering and Applied ScienceUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Sustainable Technology Division, National Risk Management Research Laboratory, Office of Research and DevelopmentU.S. Environmental Protection AgencyCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.Faculty of Engineering and ArchitectureAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon
  4. 4.ORISE Research FellowOak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE)Oak RidgeUSA

Personalised recommendations