The Distribution of Development in Asia and its Underlying Sustainable Urbanization Correlations

Authors: Richard Ross Shaker*, Ryerson University, Brian Mackay, Ryerson University
Topics: Sustainability Science, Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Asia, Composite index, Factor analysis, Measuring sustainability, Multivariate analysis, Regional development, Spatial autoregressive modeling, Sustainability assessment, Sustainable development, Sustainable development planning, Sustainability indicators, Sustainable urbanization
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Marshall North, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Research has revealed that many cities worldwide are overpopulated, have unequally distributed wealth, are degraded biogeophysically, and continue to metabolize surrounding landscapes through sprawl. To understand and monitor urbanization, indicators are fundamental for guiding humanity toward a more sustainable destination. Unfortunately, an overabundance of indicators and their composites indices now exist making their application debilitating to scientists, planners, and policymakers. Additionally, due to foreseen population growth and needed scientific corroboration, understanding global change in Asia has become paramount. Responding, first this study reduced and described a set of 35 common development indices across 44 Asian nations. Using a factor analysis, six latent dimensions (or axes) were exposed conveying over 80% of the total variation of the original 35 development indices. The six development dimensions expressed: (F1) socioeconomic well-being synergies; (F2) environmentally efficient happiness; (F3) ecological integrity to economic development tradeoff; (F4) peace, prosperity, and natural resources protection; (F5) economic advantage and privilege; and (F6) generosity. Of these, Factor 1 (socioeconomic well-being synergies) explained over one-third of the total variance, and positively clustered in northern Asia and negatively in southern Asia. Second, spatial autoregressive analysis of- population density, population growth rate, percent urban, and urban growth rate- revealed significant correlations with one or more of the six development axes. Percent urban was positively associated with socioeconomic well-being, while urban growth and population growth were negatively associated. Spatial patterns of favorable development dimensions were often not simultaneous, and an overall underrepresentation of ecological (biosphere) well-being remained across common development indices.

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