Urban sustainability has emerged as a central environmental and urban policy issue over the last decade, as our world becomes more urbanised. The purpose of this thesis is to operationalise systems modelling approaches (static, system dynamics) that will lead to improved understanding of urban sustainability in the Auckland Region. The first part of the thesis critically reviews and synthesises both the sustainability and urban development literatures. Consideration of the sustainability literature focuses on the economic, ecological, and thermodynamic interpretations of the sustainability concept, leading to the identification of eight principles used to guide the modelling process. The urban development literature revealed a significant schism between the anthropocentric approach of the social sciences and the more biophysical approach of the ecological sciences. Some suggestions are made on how to resolve this impasse. The static systems (input-output) analysis provided much structural detail about the Auckland Region economic system and its environmental system; more importantly, it also details the interdependencies between these systems. A significant achievement was the construction of a 48 industry physical (mass flows) input-output model of the Auckland Region economy, and how the economy depends on physical flows to and from the environmental system. This dependency of the economic system on natural capital and ecological services was further illustrated by an input-output analysis showing how the Auckland Region economy appropriates ecological services within the Auckland Region. This was supported by an ecological footprinting analysis that revealed how the Auckland Region economy depends on natural capital (land) from outside the Auckland Region economy. The system dynamics modelling extends the static systems analysis, to build the Auckland Region Dynamic Ecological-Economic Model (ARDEEM). This dynamic model is designed to simulate future development pathways for Auckland Region; consequently it contains a number of interconnected modules that represent components critical for achieving urban sustainability in Auckland Region; population, labour force, growth driver (based on an adjusted form of Solow growth theory), economy (financial flows), economy (physical flows), and the economy-environment interface (physical flows). The ARDEEM model's use is illustrated by generating 3 scenarios for the future development of Auckland Region: 'Business as Usual', 'Cornucopian Growth' and 'Prudent Pessimism'. Finally, several areas for future research are discussed. These should try to develop further the theory that underpins urban sustainability modelling, particularly regarding improved integration of disparate theories. The best prospects lie in the future development of ARDEEM, incorporating more sectoral detail (20 - 30 industries), spatial dynamics and ecological processes that were not originally included primarily due to the lack of data
Supplementary data and content on CD accompanying print copy held at Massey Library, Turitea campus.