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Publication - Dr Jens Holtvoeth

    Exploring the role of local community perceptions in sustainability measurements


    Jones, N, Malesios, C, Aloupi, M, Proikaki, M, Tsalis, T, Hatziantoniou, M, Dimitrakopoulos, PG, Skouloudis, A, Holtvoeth, J, Nikolaou, I, Stasinakis, AS, Kalantzi, OI, Gatidou, G, Zkeri, E, Koulousaris, M & Evangelinos, KI, 2019, ‘Exploring the role of local community perceptions in sustainability measurements’. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, vol 26., pp. 471-483


    Measuring sustainability is an integral part of decision-making processes in order to promote sustainable development. The present paper focuses on sustainability indicators as these are measured on local level and explores two main issues: firstly, the subjective measurement of indicators focusing especially on social dimensions of sustainability, secondly, the incorporation of local perceptions in sustainability assessments. These two issues are explored in the Asopos River basin in Greece, an area where significant environmental degradation has been observed in the past decades and is also under financial pressure due to the ongoing national recession. A large-scale research study was conducted measuring environmental, economic and social indicators while, at a second stage, a model was developed, estimating new indicators that incorporate local communities’ perceptions on what they considered as important for their area. The results of the study reveal that the most important indicators for the sustainable development of the area, according to locals’ perceptions, are environmental quality as well as quality of life. By contrast, trust in local and central institutions and also local enterprises were not considered as important by locals. These results illustrate the importance of combining global and national scale assessment with locally focused social measurements of sustainability in order to better understand what is important for local communities prior to embarking on public policy planning.

    Full details in the University publications repository