A spatial welfare framework for the analysis of the spatial dimensions of sustainability is developed. It incorporates agglomeration effects, interregional trade, negative environmental externalities and various land use categories. The model is used to compare rankings of spatial configurations according to evaluations based on social welfare and ecological footprint indicators. Five spatial configurations are considered for this purpose. The exercise is operationalized with the help of a two-region model of the economy that is in line with the 'new economic geography'. Various (counter) examples show that the footprint method is not consistent with an approach aimed at maximum social welfare.