Sustainable urban development: A review on urban carrying capacity assessment

Yigang Wei, Cui Huang, Tsun Ip Lam, Zhiyang Yuan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

142 Citations (Scopus)


Urban carrying capacity (UCC) concept is an important barometer and yardstick of sustainable urban development. There are a substantial number of studies dedicated to the broadest sense of the carrying capacity concept, and a plethora of underlying theories and evaluation methods have been reported. However, UCC, i.e. study at the urban setting, is a largely different research theme due to the varied meanings, principles, emphasis, and implications. Studies focused on UCC are still in its nascent period, existing in a limited volume of literature, a loosely knitted theoretical basis, with a lack of credible assessment methods and limited applications. Against this background, this research is aimed at analyzing and summarizing related studies on UCC. Through an extensive literature review, this paper integrates the existing concepts of UCC, reviews current research status, compares the pros and cons of related research methods, summarize knowledge gaps, and makes suggestions for planners and urban managers to ameliorate UCC. It contributes to a better understanding of the UCC concept. The research findings will inspire researchers to advance from the current status, and also provide clues to city managers and urban planners for developing appropriate strategies and actions to improve urban planning and management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-71
Number of pages8
JournalHabitat International
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Approaches to improve UCC
  • Carrying capacity concept
  • Knowledge gaps
  • Urban carrying capacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urban Studies


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