Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • Less than 5 students
  • Up to 3 lecture units
  • Internet connection necessary
  • English, German

Resource Description

Optimal Population(Resource ID: 79)

This building block deals shows how populations living within a habitat with limited natural resources is at an optimal level when their welfare at maximum.

This building block is part of a six-block series from the SUSTAINICUM collection:

This building block discusses the requirements for deriving the optimal and maximum size of a population in a living area (such as a country). A human population is at maximum when the resources available to them are barely enough to survive. Their welfare is zero (and not higher), the same as if no people were living there. Between zero and this maximum population exists an optimal number, in which the population’s welfare peaks. By making the following adjustments to a simple model for welfare, the optimal and maximum size of populations and the optimal resource consumption can be derived:

  1. The empirical parameter of reality
  2. Natural resource quantities for the countries of the world
  3. Natural resource quantities necessary for survival

In general, this building block should convey that a quantity can be “too much” or “too large,” making its further growth undesirable. 

Suggested methods for applying this building block, one of the six-part series, in the classroom can be found in the overview building block: From logistic growth to resource turning point- Overview.

Building block materials:

Learning Outcomes
Students should understand and learn to work with the model presented and be capable of relating it to natural, social, and technological realities.
Relevance for Sustainability
The topics dealt with are directly relevant to understanding the relationship between quantities of resources consumed and utility (welfare) in a limited ecosystem.
Sustainability criteria
  • Related to global challenges / needs
Preparation Efforts
Funded by
Funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research within the framework of the call "Projekt MINT-Massenf├Ącher" (2011/12)

Comments Write Comment


Hans Peter Aubauer


Helga Kromp-Kolb
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna
Center for Global Change and Sustainability


Creative Commons

Pillars of Sustainability

  • environment

Teaching Tools & Methods

  • Written material
  • Simulation program
  • Simulation