Inderscience Publishers

Multicriteria analysis for grouping and ranking European Union rural areas based on social sustainability indicators

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Social sustainability is 'one of the three legs of the sustainability stool' (the other two are environmental and economic). There is limited literature that focuses on social sustainability to the extent that a comprehensive study of this concept is still missing. As a result, there have been very few attempts to define social sustainability as an independent dimension of sustainable development. Social sustainability is related to social capital, social inclusion, social exclusion and social cohesion in rural economies, terms that are measured by relevant social sustainability indicators. This paper aims to measure these indicators and to compare them. In order to measure these indicators, a household survey carried out in the context of the research project CAP–IRE. This survey included 11 case study areas in nine case study areas of the European Union. From the results of this survey, we measured a set of economic and social sustainability indicators. We have selected the main social sustainability indicators on which we based to proceed to the grouping and ranking of the 11 European rural areas.

Keywords: grouping, ranking, EU rural areas, indicators, multicriteria analysis, social sustainability, European Union, sustainability indicators, social capital, social inclusion, social exclusion, social cohesion, rural economies, sustainable development

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