Footprint – The ecological footprint of the city Vienna

Footprint – The ecological footprint of the city Vienna
Ressourcen Management Agentur (RMA)
Unterstützt durch: 
Stadt Wien, MA 22
Project goal
The goal of this project is to estimate and characterise the Ecological Footprint of the City of Vienna. The “theoretical” area describing the resource consumption of the city is that area required to satisfy and maintain the Viennese population’s social and economic standard of living.



Our current rate of resource consumption far exceeds the rate at which natural ecosystems can regenerate. In order to meet the needs of our current standard of living without harming the capacity of future generations also to do so, new resource management strategies are required. One important task of contemporary environmental science is therefore to develop suitable indicators to characterise and measure the impact of resource consumption. Such indicators can be used both to ensure that resources are utilised in an optimal and sustainable manner and to monitor the environmental impacts of consumption.
One of the most well known indicators of human resource consumption, and more broadly sustainability, is the Ecological Footprint (EF), developed by M. Wackernagel and W. Rees. The Ecological Footprint represents the entire resource consumption of a region, expressed as an area. The materials and energy required for a region are translated into two types of areas: 1. The area required for material resources and goods, and 2. The area required for consumed energy and embodied energy in net imported goods. The Ecological Footprint “translates” the energy and goods consumed by humans in a region into the area of land (and water) that would be required to supply and dispose of energy and goods. This method has been used world wide to estimate the Ecological Footprint of cities, urban regions as well as nations, including Austria.
Furthermore the project compares the Ecological Footprint of Vienna with the footprints of other large cities and regions round the world (such as London, The Hague, Santiago de Chile, Malmö, Kuoplo and Toronto) and as well as with the footprint of Austria. The Ecological Footprint calculated for Vienna is also evaluated against the ideal sustainable footprint.