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To date, the debate on the sustainability of human settlements has focused on the urban portion of the land use pattern. Since urban areas rely on suburban, rural, and other less densely settled areas for their existence, these areas must be included in any sustainability assessment. This need for a regional view has resulted in a typology of regional form, which allows comparisons of relative sustainability between various regional land use patterns. Based on resource efficiency, this regional analysis includes measurements related to water, agricultural land, habitat, energy use, and transportation and identifies primary indicators for each category. Existing methods employed to assess urban sustainability are reviewed and compared with two new methods, introduced here, that take a more holistic regional view: population density zones and regional characteristic curves. Future work to fully evaluate the properties of these new methods by applying them to a variety of regional form types is described.


" ISOMUL 2002 Collaborative Planning for the Metropolitan Landscape Regional strategies for Smarth Growth: When City and Country Collide Jun. 2002.