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Applying the SDGs to cities : Business as usual or a new dawn?

Zinkernagel, Roland LU ; Evans, James and Neij, Lena LU (2018) In Sustainability (Switzerland) 10(9).
Abstract

With growing urbanisation the sustainability of cities has become increasingly important. Although cities have been using indicators for a long time it is only in the last decades that attempts have been made to collate indicators into sets that reflect the many different aspects required to assess the sustainability of a city. The aimof this paper is to review the evolution of indicators for monitoring sustainable urban development in order to understand how 'new' the indicators suggested by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are for cities and the challenges they may face in using them. The review reveals that previous indicator sets emphasised environmental sustainability, health and economic growth. It is also shown that... (More)

With growing urbanisation the sustainability of cities has become increasingly important. Although cities have been using indicators for a long time it is only in the last decades that attempts have been made to collate indicators into sets that reflect the many different aspects required to assess the sustainability of a city. The aimof this paper is to review the evolution of indicators for monitoring sustainable urban development in order to understand how 'new' the indicators suggested by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are for cities and the challenges they may face in using them. The review reveals that previous indicator sets emphasised environmental sustainability, health and economic growth. It is also shown that indicator sets that pre-date the SDGs lacked dimensions such as gender equality and reduced inequalities. In all, the SDG indicators provide the possibility of a more balanced and integrated approach to urban sustainability monitoring. At the same time, further research is needed to understand how to adapt the SDGs, targets and indicators to specific urban contexts. Challenges of local application include their large number, their generic characteristics and the need to complement them with specific indicators that are more relevant at the city level.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Evolution of sustainability assessment, Indicators, Sustainable development goals, Urban sustainable development
in
Sustainability (Switzerland)
volume
10
issue
9
publisher
MDPI AG
external identifiers
  • scopus:85052920535
ISSN
2071-1050
DOI
10.3390/su10093201
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
cd60d469-15ce-4ef6-9fd0-55b06e179f28
date added to LUP
2018-10-11 12:48:15
date last changed
2018-11-21 21:42:22
@article{cd60d469-15ce-4ef6-9fd0-55b06e179f28,
  abstract     = {<p>With growing urbanisation the sustainability of cities has become increasingly important. Although cities have been using indicators for a long time it is only in the last decades that attempts have been made to collate indicators into sets that reflect the many different aspects required to assess the sustainability of a city. The aimof this paper is to review the evolution of indicators for monitoring sustainable urban development in order to understand how 'new' the indicators suggested by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are for cities and the challenges they may face in using them. The review reveals that previous indicator sets emphasised environmental sustainability, health and economic growth. It is also shown that indicator sets that pre-date the SDGs lacked dimensions such as gender equality and reduced inequalities. In all, the SDG indicators provide the possibility of a more balanced and integrated approach to urban sustainability monitoring. At the same time, further research is needed to understand how to adapt the SDGs, targets and indicators to specific urban contexts. Challenges of local application include their large number, their generic characteristics and the need to complement them with specific indicators that are more relevant at the city level.</p>},
  articleno    = {3201},
  author       = {Zinkernagel, Roland and Evans, James and Neij, Lena},
  issn         = {2071-1050},
  keyword      = {Evolution of sustainability assessment,Indicators,Sustainable development goals,Urban sustainable development},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {09},
  number       = {9},
  publisher    = {MDPI AG},
  series       = {Sustainability (Switzerland)},
  title        = {Applying the SDGs to cities : Business as usual or a new dawn?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su10093201},
  volume       = {10},
  year         = {2018},
}