Modeling Earth Systems and Environment

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 1161–1170 | Cite as

Ecological carrying capacity of public green spaces as a sustainability index of urban population: a case study of Mashhad city in Iran

  • Mohammad Reza Mansouri DaneshvarEmail author
  • Fahimeh Khatami
  • Farzin Zahed
Original Article


Urban planners usually define carrying capacity as the ability of a natural zone or a built area to absorb population or development without any risk for both zone and population. This research aims to expand a framework for investigation of urban carrying capacity, which can determine a sustainability index of urban population based on public green spaces. For this purpose, a conventional three-level procedure of ecological carrying capacity for public green spaces was considered in Mashhad city, Iran. In this regard, the physical, real and effective carrying capacities were estimated for total public green spaces in Mashhad as about 68, 22 and 44% from total population, respectively. Furthermore, among Mashhad municipality districts, two districts represented the highest values of carrying capacity and high classes of ecological carrying capacity index over than 1 in Mashhad city due to accessibility to the natural patches and man-made gardens.


Ecological carrying capacity Correction factors Public green spaces Sustainability index Population Mashhad city 



We thank anonymous reviewers for technical suggestions on data interpretations.

Compliance with ethical standards


This study was not funded by any Grant.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and Natural HazardsResearch Institute of Shakhes PajouhIsfahanIran
  2. 2.Department of ManagementUniversity of TurinTorinoItaly
  3. 3.Department of Urban Planning and Design, Mashhad BranchIslamic Azad UniversityMashhadIran

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