Measuring the Sustainability of Cities: A Survey-Based Analysis of the Use of Local Indicators

32 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2009

See all articles by Georges A. Tanguay

Georges A. Tanguay

ESG-UQAM, CIRANO

Juste Rajaonson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jean-Francois Lefebvre

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Paul Lanoie

HEC Montreal - Institute of Applied Economics

Date Written: January 2, 2009

Abstract

We analyze 17 studies of the use of sustainable development indicators (SDI) in an urban setting. The analysis reveals a lack of consensus not only on the conceptual framework and the approach favored, but also on the selection and optimal number of indicators. First, by performing different classifications and categorizations of SDI we identify problems inherent in territorial practices that use SDI. Second, we argue that the lack of consensus in several steps of the creation of SDI stems notably from the ambiguity in the definitions of sustainable development, objectives for the use of such indicators, the selection method and the accessibility of qualitative and quantitative data. Third, we propose a selection strategy for SDI through which we demonstrate the need to adopt a parsimonious list of SDI covering the sustainable development components and their constituent categories as broadly as possible while minimizing the number of indicators retained.

Keywords: Cities, Indicators, Sustainable Development, Environment, Local Governance

Suggested Citation

Tanguay, Georges A. and Rajaonson, Juste and Lefebvre, Jean-Francois and Lanoie, Paul, Measuring the Sustainability of Cities: A Survey-Based Analysis of the Use of Local Indicators (January 2, 2009). CIRANO - Scientific Publications No. 2009s-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1336649 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1336649

Georges A. Tanguay (Contact Author)

ESG-UQAM, CIRANO ( email )

C.P. 8888
Succ. Centre-ville
Montreal, Quebec H3C 3P8
Canada
514 987 3000 (2123) (Phone)

Juste Rajaonson

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Jean-Francois Lefebvre

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Paul Lanoie

HEC Montreal - Institute of Applied Economics ( email )

3000, ch. de la Côte-Ste-Catherine
Montréal, Quebec H3T 2A7
Canada

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