Using urban-carrying capacity as a benchmark for sustainable urban development: An empirical study of Beijing

Yigang Wei, Cui Huang, Tsun Ip Lam, Yong Sha, Yong Feng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Sustainable urban development has been receiving growing concerns from both city managers and urban residents across the world. As a yardstick of sustainability, urban carrying capacity (UCC) is an important conceptual underpinning that guides local governments in promoting sustainable urban development. However, existing studies still lack consensus not only on the theoretical aspects, but also on the methodological issues for UCC monitoring and evaluation. A knowledge gap exists, which this paper fills. This study aims to develop a practical UCC assessment framework to guide urban development towards achieving sustainability. The quantitative-based assessment framework provides a set of measurable indicators and benchmarks for city managers to conduct routine monitoring on progress toward urban sustainability, and helps identify deficient areas, which urgently need resource allocation to improve UCC. Focusing on a case study of Beijing, this study demonstrates that the framework is useful in promoting urban sustainability. This framework provides rich implications for other city prototypes in China as the nation marches into the next phase of development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3244-3268
Number of pages25
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Assessment framework
  • Beijing
  • Sustainable urban development
  • Urban carrying capacity (UCC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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