Corvinus: the ecological footprint of Budapest households is incredibly high

Halaska Gábor | 2022-11-07
The ecological footprint of households in Budapest and its surroundings is incredibly unsustainable. Taking the ecological capital, i.e. the biocapacity of the land, into account, the overload of the capital city is 30 times, that of the agglomeration is 2.4 times, according to a recent Hungarian study with the involvement of the Corvinus University.

A study by a Hungarian research team of four members was published in the journal Sustainable Cities and Society in September. It provides a novel analysis of the environmental sustainability of urbanisation in Hungary, the Budapest metropolitan area.

The ecological footprint is a measure of demand, i.e. how many hectares of land are needed to produce the materials used.

This is the so-called global hectare, a measure of the ecological footprint, which is precisely defined each year.

It shows the annual productive capacity of arable land, forests and water worldwide.

The publication, made with the involvement of researchers from the Eötvös Loránd Research Network, the Regional Research Center of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Széchenyi István University, and the Corvinus University of Budapest, examined the period between 2003 and 2018.

The authors found that the ecological deficit of the country as a whole has been gradually decreasing since the early 2000s, driven by population decline and an increase in biocapacity for the country as a whole. However, Budapest’s ecological resources have decreased, which may be due to environmental degradation, the shrinkage of biologically active areas caused by urbanisation and urbanisation itself.

The share of the Budapest metropolitan area, which includes the capital and its agglomeration, in Hungary’s total ecological footprint increased from 28.3 percent to 31.5 percent between 2003 and 2018.

In the agglomeration zone, however, the excess increased from 2.1 to 2.4 times. This is an increase of 7% in a decade and a half, which is not offset by the biocapacity of the ecosystem on the supply side. 

The results can help political decision-makers identify hotspots that are responsible for above-average ecological imbalances in urban regions.