The main aim of this paper is to analyse the environmental impacts of the transformation
of the Budapest Metropolitan Region
through the ecological footprint indicator, between 2003 and 2013. Similarly to other
major urban agglomerations in East
Central Europe, the socio-spatial structure of the Budapest Metropolitan Region has
gone through substantial changes since
the change of regime, when the movement of younger and more affluent strata from the
core city to the suburban zone
commenced. According to our hypothesis the quickly growing population of the suburbs,
with higher level of consumption
has resulted in the reshuffle of the ecological footprint of the urban region.
In this study, two methods are used to estimate the ecological footprint of the Budapest
Metropolitan Region. The first is a
top-down, compound method using regional GDP data as the basis of the calculation.
The second is a component-based
approach, combining an environmentally extended input-output model with local household
consumption data. The second
approach also enables us to cover the embedded (in the total life-cycle of goods and
services consumed by households)
ecological footprint of household consumption.
Although the indirect, embedded household footprint decreased by 11% in Hungary between
2003 and 2013, it increased by
6% in Budapest and by 8% in the suburban zone. In the suburban area the growing ecological
footprint is mainly the outcome
of population growth, in Budapest the major driver of growth is the increasing consumption.
The direct household ecological
footprint accounted more than double in the suburban zone compared to the respective
value in Budapest for 2013. This is
mainly due to the higher (and growing, because of the spreading of wood combustion)
heating footprint, whereas, there was
no significant difference regarding the carbon footprint of the fuels used for vehicles.