Urban Optimum Population Size and Development Pattern Based on Ecological Footprint Model: Case of Zhoushan, China
The agglomeration of population in the city can reflect the prosperity in the economy, society and culture. However, it has also brought a series of problems like environmental pollution, traffic congestion, housing shortage and jobs crisis. The results can be shown as the failure of urban comprehensive function, the decline of city benefits, and the contradiction between socioeconomic circumstance and ecosystem. Therefore, a reasonable population capacity, which is influenced by ecological resources, urban environment, geographical elements, social and economic factors, etc., is objectively needed. How to deal with the relationship between the utilization of natural capital and development of the city is extremely essential. This paper takes Zhoushan Island as an example, which is the fourth largest island off the coast of China. Firstly, the interactively influencing factors of urban optimal population are illustrated. And method is chosen to study the optimal population size. Secondly, based on the model of ecological footprint (EP), the paper calculates and analyzes the ecological footprint and ecological capacity of the Zhoushan Island, in order to explore the optimal population size of the city. Thirdly, analysis and evaluation of the resources and urban environment carrying capacity is made. Finally, the solution of the existing population problems and the suggestion for the future development pattern of the city are proposed in the urban eco-planning of Zhoushan Island. The main strategies can be summarized in two aspects: one is to reduce the ecological footprint, the other is to increase the ecological supply. The conclusion is that the current population of Zhoushan Island is far beyond the optimum population size calculated by the ecological footprint model. Therefore, sustainable development should be the guidance for urban planning in Zhoushan Island, and a low-carbon development pattern for the city is advocated.
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