Strategies, Methods and Outlook
Elgar original reference
Edited by Daniel A. Mazmanian and Hilda Blanco
Chapter 14: Developing sustainable cities indicators
One of the earliest manifestations of the push for sustainability in American cities is contained in a number of cities’ efforts to develop indicators of sustainability, and to develop these indicators within the context of an indicators project. This chapter examines four major aspects of sustainable cities indicators. First, it briefly describes the indicators projects or efforts in six cities selected here for comparison – Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Jacksonville, Florida; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Santa Monica, California; and Seattle, Washington. The focus here is on what specific cities have actually done in their indicators projects, not on trying to prescribe in any comprehensive way what cities could or should do in their indicators initiatives. Second, it looks at a sampling of the indicators used to measure the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability, and indicators that stand at the intersection of these three dimensions. This includes a discussion of the promises and pitfalls of relying on a relatively small number of indicators as a method of trying to understand the sweeping idea of sustainability. Third, it looks at the processes used by sustainability indicators projects in cities – the processes used to develop indicators. And fourth, it examines recent trends in some cities to incorporate indicators projects into their performance management systems in order to maximize the chances that improvements in sustainability results will be achieved as a matter of public policy.
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