Land-cover-based indicator to assess the accessibility of resources used in the construction sector

Ioannidou, Dimitra (ETH Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland) ; Nikias, Vasileios (ETH Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland) ; Brière, Raphaël (IFSTTAR, Materials Department, Université Paris-Est, Paris, France ; Navier Laboratory, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, Université Paris-Est, Marne la Vallée, France) ; Zerbi, Stefano (Haute école du paysage, d’ingénierie et d’architecture de Genève (hepia), HES-SO // Haute Ecole Spécialisée de Suisse Occidentale) ; Habert, Guillaume (ETH Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland ; IFSTTAR, Materials Department, Université Paris-Est, Paris, France)

The motivation for the current study is based on the observation that close to metropolitan areas, abiotic resources are becoming scarce and need to be imported and transported over long distances in order to be used in construction. The issue of local resource scarcity, with respect to resources used in the construction sector, is not adequately depicted in environmental impact assessment methods such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and despite the documented need by many researchers to evaluate resource availability on a regional rather than global scale, no cost-efficient, fast and reliable indicator has been proposed. Additionally, the existing indicators take into account only the issue of physical availability of a resource and normally neglect the impact of other parameters, including social or legislative issues. A resource can be physically available and yet the access to it may be prohibited. It is argued here that social and anthropogenic factors, such as the proximity to an urban area or the existence of a protected zone, can be a barrier to the authorization of quarry operation and expansion and that the accessibility to a resource is often threatened by competing land uses. In this study, we developed an indicator for assessing local accessibility from quarries rather than global availability of resources used in the construction industry. This indicator reflects the impact of social factors on resource exploitation and expresses the space competition between built area and quarry based on land cover data. For a complete sustainability assessment, this social indicator should be used in conjunction with other environmental and economic indicators, such as the indicator on resource availability or the impact of the transportation. The validation of this accessibility indicator, with French and Swiss data, is performed both at national and regional levels. The results show that this new indicator is robust and reliable as similar local contexts provide similar results. Furthermore, it allows to understand the dynamics of the studied area in terms of human pressure on resource accessibility in a very fast and cost-efficient way.

Article Type:
Ingénierie et Architecture
HEPIA - Genève
inPACT - Institut du Paysage, d'Architecture, de la Construction et du Territoire
12 p.
Published in:
Resources, Conservation and Recycling
Numeration (vol. no.):
2015, vol. 94, pp. 80-91
Appears in Collection:

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 Record created 2020-08-11, last modified 2020-10-27

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